New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday told the Supreme Court it will postpone the by-polls in 15 assembly seats in Karnataka as the hearing of the pleas challenging the disqualification of the rebel MLAs are pending in the court.
As per the EC announcement, the by-polls were scheduled for October 21 and the results were supposed to be out on Oct 24.
The EC’s statement comes after the apex court said it will decide the plea of the 17 MLAs against their suspension. The apex court will next hear the matter on October 22.
The development comes after Karnataka Assembly speaker on Wednesday asked the top court to set up guidelines for dealing with matters such as the disqualification of 17 MLAs in the state.
A bench headed by Justice N V Ramna was hearing the case of 17 disqualified Karnataka Assembly MLAs, who had moved the Apex Court seeking an interim order or direction to allow them permission to contest in the by-polls.
Prior to this, the EC had on Monday told the apex court that the former MLAs can contest the by-polls despite them being disqualified from the assembly.
“Elections should not be stayed. The state Speaker can disqualify but can’t deprive the ex-MLAs of contesting the elections,” the commission had submitted.
The 15 seats were lying vacant after the disqualification of the rebel Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs following their resignation from their respective parties. The then Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar had disqualified the 17 MLAs.
Kumaraswamy had recently resigned from the post of chief minister after losing the trust vote in the assembly, making the way for the BJP’s BS Yediyurappa to form the government in the state.
Following the incident, the disqualified MLAs had moved the apex court, challenging Kumar’s decision to disqualify them. In their pleas, they have mentioned that the decision taken by Kumar before resigning as Speaker was an entirely illegal. These MLAs had also questioned Kumar’s decision to reject their resignations.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundu Rao said that the EC’s statement to the SC is a victory for the party.
“It’s a victory for us. Supreme Court is going to look at the real meaning of the anti-defection law. People’s mandate should not become a method to profit to make money,” he said.