Karnataka MLAs’ disqualification: SC rejects 17 Cong-JD(S) rebels plea for urgent hearing

The MLAs are hoping for a favourable verdict as they want to contest the bye-elections in the 17 constituencies.
Karnataka MLAs’ disqualification: SC rejects 17 Cong-JD(S) rebels plea for urgent hearing
Karnataka MLAs’ disqualification: SC rejects 17 Cong-JD(S) rebels plea for urgent hearing
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The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea by the 17 disqualified MLAs of Karnataka, who sought an urgent hearing on the matter of their disqualification. These MLAs of the former JD(S)-Congress coalition government had resigned from their positions to pave way for the BJP to form a government in the state.

The rebels, represented by former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi, approached the Apex court to quash and set aside the former Speaker Ramesh Kumar’s order dated July 28, 2019, which rejected the resignations of the rebels and disqualified them.

The 17 rebels include Pratap Gouda Patil, BC Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, ST Someshekhar, Byrati Basavraj, Anand Singh, R Roshan Baig, Muniratna, K Sudhakar, MTB Nagaraj, Shrimant Patil, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Mahesh Kumatahalli and R Shankar from the Congress and JD(S) legislators AH Vishwanath, Gopalaiah and Narayana Gowda.

If their disqualification is not set aside by the Supreme Court, then their prospects of getting inducted into Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s cabinet could be threatened. The disqualification order states that the 17 MLAs cannot contest elections until the term of the Assembly is over. This means that the 17 rebels will have to wait for the upcoming Assembly polls in 2023. The rebels had approached the court with the hope that the Speaker’s order would be set aside, which would pave way for them to contest the bye-elections. Following their disqualification, their respective parties had also expelled them.

Incidentally, K Sudhakar, among the rebels is the chief of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board as recommended by the coalition government. Speculation is rife that the rebels, who were assured cabinet berths and position of chiefs in government-run boards and corporations have not been given a word yet from the BJP high command.

The coalition had accused the BJP of horse-trading and paying crores of rupees to the renegade MLAs in a bid to topple the government. The rebels had tendered their resignations to the Speaker’s office on July 6 and had boarded a private charter plane, which flew them to Mumbai. They were cooped up at Renaissance Hotel in Mumbai until Yediyurappa took oath as the Chief Minister.

While the apex court had rejected an urgent hearing concerning the case on Monday, recent cases have gone in favour of MLAs who have defied their party line. In the case of 18 AIADMK MLAs, who were disqualified in September 2017, they were allowed by the apex court and the Election Commission to contest the bye-elections held six months later.

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