17 Karnataka MLAs to remain disqualified, but can contest polls: Supreme Court
New Delhi : Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the 17 Karnataka MLAs whose revolt had triggered the collapse of Janta Dal Secular– Congress government and the takeover by the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP will remain disqualified. But the apex court cancelled the Speaker's decision to bar the rebel MLAs from contesting polls till 2023.
"In a parliamentary democracy, morality is equally binding on the government and the opposition," the Supreme Court said, upholding then Speaker's decision to disqualify the rebels in July.
14 Congress MLAs and 3 JDS were disqualified by the speaker under anti-defection law by the speaker in July.
The speaker had also barred them from contesting elections till the end of the current Parliament term till 2023. This decision has been cancelled by the Supreme Court in today's ruling.
As the 17 MLAs quit and refused to return to the assembly, the JDS-Congress coalition fell during a trust vote on July 23, after which the BJP staked claim to power.
The MLAs then filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding that their disqualification must be cancelled. While JDS and Congress challenged it by claiming that it must stay in place.
The MLAs have now been allowed to contest the elections scheduled in December 5.