The Election Commission told the Supreme Court that it has agreed to defer by-polls in Karnataka as the hearing of the petitions challenging disqualification of the rebel legislators is pending in court.
The by-polls on the 15 assembly seats in Karnataka were scheduled to be held on October 21 and the result was scheduled to be announced three days later.
The by-polls have been deferred till the Supreme Court passes an order on the plea of disqualified MLAs.
The statement by EC's council came after a 3-judge bench headed by Justice N V Ramana said that it would decide on the batch of petitions filed by 17 disqualified MLAs of Karnataka challenging the order of former Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar disqualifying them from the House.
After the bench, also comprising justices Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari, said that it would hear the matter completely and decide it, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the poll panel, said: "Then I will ask the Election Commission to defer it (by-polls for 15 Assembly seats in Karnataka) for sometime".
When the bench asked Dwivedi as to whether his statement should be recorded in the order, the senior lawyer said, "We will do it".
The lawyers appearing for the disqualified MLAs, Congress leader Siddaramaiah and other respondents said, they have no objection if the by-polls are deferred.
The top court said it would continue with the hearing in the case on October 22.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundu Rao said, “It's a victory for us. Supreme Court is going to look at the real meaning of the anti-defection law. People's mandate should not become a method to profit to make money.”
While former Karnataka chief minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy criticised the decision and calling Election Commission a ‘puppet of the government’ he said, “it's the first time such a decision has been given by a constitutional authority. Anyone can judge EC is a puppet of the government.”