Disqualified Karnataka MLAs on Wednesday welcomed the Supreme Court verdict allowing them to contest the December 5 by-elections in the state.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the disqualification of 17 rebel Karnataka MLAs by former Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar but allowed the legislators to contest the bypolls slated on December 5.

The apex court struck down a portion of Kumar’s order restricting them to contest polls till the completion of the present term of the House, which ends in 2023.

“The Supreme court allowing us to contest election is important to us. We welcome it. We are politicians. This verdict is important to us,” disqualified JDS MLA from Hunsur A H Vishwanath told reporters in New Delhi.

Although, Vishwanath declined to comment when reporters asked him about the party he would contest from.

Other MLAs including B C Patil, Pratap Gouda Patil and K Gopalaiah too are happy with the verdict and resonated similar views.

Hailing the Supreme Court order BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel said  that the party would convene a meeting to discuss the future course of action in the wake of the election date been announced.

Asked whether the BJP would give the disqualified MLAs tickets to contest in the by-polls, he said, “We will hold discussions with Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.”

The apex court emphasised on the constitutional morality saying that the Speaker can only examine if the resignation is voluntarily or otherwise.
The Supreme Court opined that there is no doubt that disqualification takes place when there is defection.

Justice NV Ramana also observed in his verdict on the growing trend of Speakers acting against the constitutional mandate, saying, “Citizens are denied stable governments.”

The disqualified MLAs had argued in the court that they had an “indefeasible right” to resign as members of the assembly and criticised the speaker’s decision to disqualify them.

In an interim order in July, the Supreme Court had said that Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar was free to decide on resignations of the rebel MLAs.
15 rebel legislators, including 12 from the Congress and 3 JD(S) had resigned from the house, and two Independents withdrew support leading to the fall of the 14-month coalition government in Karnataka.

Then Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had resigned after losing a trust vote, which paved the way for the BJP-led government in Karnataka under BS Yediyurappa.

Karnataka Assembly bypolls to 15 out of these 17 assembly seats are scheduled on December 5. These seats fell vacant following the disqualification of MLAs. Candidates can file their nomination papers between November 11 and November 18.