New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear on November 13 a fresh plea moved by the disqualified Karnataka MLAs seeking a direction to the Election Commission to again postpone the assembly bypolls for 15 seats scheduled on December 5.

A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana on October 25 had reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions filed by the 17 MLAs, challenging their disqualification as lawmakers ahead of the trust vote by the then H D Kumaraswamy government.

The disqualified MLAs said since the judgement on their fate is still awaited, the poll panel be directed to defer the bypolls till the pronouncement of verdict.

"Upon oral mentioning made by the senior counsel appearing for the petitioners seeking urgent listing of the Interlocutory Application for directions, the registry is directed to list the said application on Wednesday, the November 13, 2019, subject to curing of defects by the petitioner.

"We direct the learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioner to serve a copy of the interlocutory application to the senior counsels appearing for the respondents immediately," the bench, comprising Justice V Ramasubramanian, said.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the disqualified MLAs, mentioned the matter and said the bypolls for the assembly seats are scheduled on December 5 and candidates are required to file their nomination papers between November 11 and November 18.

He said the disqualified MLAs will not be able to file their nomination and moreover the apex court verdict has not been delivered on the particular issue.

Rohatgi sought postponement of the bypolls till the apex court delivers its verdict on the petitions challenging the disqualifications.

The apex court asked the counsel for the MLAs to file a fresh application in this regard.

The Election Commission had postponed the bypolls, which were scheduled on October 21, to December 5 in view of the pendency of the petitions filed by the disqualified lawmakers.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Karnataka Congress, had told the top court that the legal challenge to the disqualification of the MLAs needs to be referred to a Constitution Bench.

He had contended that then Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar, who was the Master of the House, exercised his jurisdiction to disqualify the MLAs and his decision cannot be questioned.

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Free Press Journal