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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

Will defer bypolls to 15 Karnataka assembly seats, Election Commission to SC on petition by disqualified MLAs

The disqualified legislators had petitioned the Supreme Court that they should be allowed to contest the by-elections in the state - the last date for filing nominations is Monday - or the by-polls should be deferred.

india Updated: Sep 26, 2019 18:32 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Election Commission’s stand was conveyed to the top court during Thursday’s hearing
The Election Commission’s stand was conveyed to the top court during Thursday’s hearing (HT file photo)
         

The Election Commission on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it will put off by-polls to the 15 Karnataka Assembly seats that were scheduled for October 21 till the judges decide on petitions by the disqualified legislators.

The poll panel’s stand was conveyed to the top court during Thursday’s hearing on petitions by 17 lawmakers disqualified by the former speaker of Karnataka assembly and prohibited them from contesting elections till the expiry of the assembly’s term. They have contested the decision to disqualify them instead of accepting their resignation.

The resignation of the 17 MLAs from the Congress and JD(S) parties brought down the HD Kumaraswamy-led government in Karnataka in July this year. They were thereafter disqualified on grounds of defection by former Speaker KR Ramesh.

The disqualified legislators had petitioned the court that they should be allowed to contest the by-elections in the state - the last date for filing nominations is Monday - or the by-polls should be deferred.

Since the top court was not inclined to take a view on the interim request before taking a call on the disqualification challenge, the poll panel’s counsel told the top court that it would put the election process for the 15 Karnataka seats on hold.

The court will hear the matter next on October 22 after voting for the by-elections on other seats and the assemblies of Maharashtra and Haryana ends.

Yesterday, Karnataka Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde had contradicted his precessor KR Ramesh and insisted that every legislator had the right to resign his seat. Hegde, who was elevated as speaker soon after the BS Yediyurappa government won its trust vote, said a legislator owed a duty and loyalty to the electorate who voted the MLA rather than a political party.