17 disqualified MLAs have challenged then Speaker’s decision to unseat them.
New Delhi: The Supreme court is likely to pronounce on Wednesday its verdict on a plea by 15 Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) disqualified lawmakers of Karnataka Assembly challenging the then Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar’s decision to unseat them for the rest of the term of the current House of the state Assembly.
A bench of Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Krishna Murari reserved the verdict on October 24, 2019, as both Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) defended the unseating of the rebel lawmakers, while disqualified lawmakers described the then Speaker’s decision as “malafide and vengeful”.
The revolt by these lawmakers against the ruling JD(S) and Congress coalition government led to the fall of chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s government and paved the way for the installation of current chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s government.
The 17 legislators who had knocked the door of Supreme Court included three — one independent and two of Congress — R. Shankar, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathalli respectively who were disqualified on July 25, 2019. Another 14 lawmakers were unseated for defying the whip of their respective parties to vote for the motion of confidence by the former chief minister Kumaraswamy.
The second batch of lawmakers who were disqualified by then Speaker Ramesh Kumar on July 28 included 11 rebels of Congress and three of JD(S). They included Pratap Gouda Patil, BC Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, S.T. Somashekar, Byrathi Basavaraj, Anand Singh, Roshan Baig, K. Sudhakar, Muniratna, M.T.B. Nagaraj, Shrimant Patil, H. Vishwanath, Narayan Gowda, and Gopalaiah.
Starting with Monday (November 11, 2019), the nominations for byelections to 17 vacant seats would continue till November 18. Polling would take place on December 5 and counting of votes on December 9. The Election Commission had rescheduled the dates for byelections in the wake of hearing by the top court the plea by 17 unseated lawmakers.
They had contended that in the light of the then Speaker’s order unseating them for the rest of the term of the current House of the state Assembly, they can’t contest byelections.