A three-judge Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana is scheduled on November 13 to pronounce its verdict on the legality of the disqualification of 15 of a total 17 dissident MLAs by then Karnataka Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar under the anti-defection law.
Karnataka Congress has argued that it is an open secret that the dissident MLAs offered their resignation en masse to bring down the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) combine and pave the way for the return of the BJP government to power in the State.
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, for the JD(S) party leader, said defection was the biggest evil in politics. He said it reduced politics to a “trade”.
Also read: Judgment day for disqualified legislators
The MLAs have argued that the power of a Speaker while dealing with resignations by MLAs is limited and extends only to check whether they are genuine. They had placed their resignations before the Speaker, but the latter delayed a decision on them and, instead, proceeded to disqualify them for defection. They said it was their right to resign.
The MLAs want to contest in the coming by-polls scheduled in the first week of December.
The Bench will have to decide whether their disqualification, if found legal, would bar them from contesting the polls.
Justice Ramana has authored the judgment for the Bench also comprising Justices Sanjeev Khanna and Krishna Murari.
The Congress have also argued that the petitions filed by the disqualified MLAs have raised several questions of law impacting the polity of the country and should be referred to a Constitution Bench.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had argued that the court should ask the Speaker to decide the case of the MLAs afresh.