ET View: Sensible decision in Karnataka, now to let the December 5 bypolls decide the ex-MLAs’ future

The Supreme Court has finally decided to uphold the disqualification of 17 Karnataka MLAs by the Speaker under the anti-defection law. IIt has, however, lifted their earlier prohibition from contesting polls, making them free to stand for fresh bypolls — thereby underlining the yawning gap between the anti-defection law’s cup and the legislators’ lip.

The 14 MLAs who quit from Congress and the three from the Janata Dal (Secular) last July, leading to the fall of the JD(S)-Congress government, may have reasons other than pure disagreement and/or disenchantment with the way their own parties were going about governing and such things. ‘Externalities’ may have well caused their conscience to act, BJP’s welcome mat and alluring signature tune quite possibly being one of them. But with the MLAs putting in their papers, the test of their worth as born-again legislators representing another/other party/parties, was indeed contesting fresh bypolls. There is no rule of law that allows one to telepathically find out the cause behind such resignations. The Congress and JD(S) challenge to these 17 MLAs coming up to the plate again has rightly been overturned by the Supreme Court.

Now, it’s for the bypolls, to 15 of the seats left vacant by the earlier ‘disqualifications’ on December 5, to decide the fate of the ‘Resigned 17’. That will determine whether voters would have these gentlemen, itching to go back to legislative business at Vidhana Soudha, bat for the ‘other side’ or not.


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