K’taka rebel MLAs: Apex court wraps up hearing, reserves verdict

K’taka rebel MLAs: Apex court wraps up hearing, reserves verdict

Agency News

New Delhi, Oct 25: The Supreme Court on Friday wrapped up the hearing and reserved its judgement on pleas by 17 rebel MLAs of Indian National Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) against their disqualification by the then Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.

The rebellion led to the fall of the coalition government of the two parties in July, setting the stage for the Bharatiya Janata Party government headed by Bookanakere Siddalangappa Yediyurappa across the Vindhyas. "We are reserving the judgement on the petitions filed by the MLAs who were disqualified by the Speaker. We will pass appropriate direction in this regard," the Justice N V Ramana-led bench ruled.

The apex court heard in detail all the arguments and submissions from the petitioners and respondents. Senior counsel, Kapil Sibal, appearing for INC, said that right to be elected is statutory. Hence, they cannot come to Supreme Court. Even if a seven-days notice is not given, procedure is not vitiated, contended Mr Sibal.

Devdutta Kamat, another lawyer for INC, said the MLA's claim of absenting on the ground of medical treatment should be taken into consideration. Opposing the arguments of Messrs Sibal and Kamat, Solicitor-General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for many disqualified MLAs, averred that resignation and disqualification are distinct and different proceedings; they are mixing up the reasons for the two which cannot be done.

Bypolls are to be held on December 5 to 15 out of the 17 constituencies represented by the disqualified MLAs. (UNI)