JD(S) MLA from Tumakuru Rural constituency in Karnataka D C Gowrishankar Swamy was disqualified by the High Court of Karnataka on Thursday in a case relating to alleged electoral malpractice.
The Court, however, kept the disqualification in suspension for one month, allowing Swamy to file an appeal in the Supreme Court.
A single-judge bench of the high court was delivering its verdict on a petition filed by defeated BJP candidate B Suresh Gowda, which alleged electoral malpractice by Swamy for distributing fake insurance bonds to voters during the 2018 Karnataka Assembly election.
The disqualification, under Section 101 of the The Representation of the People Act, comes five years after the original complaint by Gowda.
Justice S Sunil Dutt Yadav, who had reserved the judgment after completion of arguments on February 17, dictated the orders on Thursday from the Kalaburagi bench of the Karnataka High Court.
The advocate for Swamy, Hemanth Raj, sought the suspension of the order as per Section 116(B) of the Act to allow him to file an appeal before the Supreme Court, as elections to the Karnataka Assembly had already been announced.
Swamy plans to contest the upcoming elections, the high court was told. Though the advocate for complainant Gowda opposed this request, the HC allowed the plea and kept the order in suspension.
Apart from Swamy, the court also found the other accused, Balanetraiah, Arehalli Manjunath, Krishnegowda, Renukamma and Sunanda, guilty of corrupt election practices. The suspension of the order was only in respect of Swamy and not the other accused, the HC said.
After the Model Code of Conduct came into force on March 27, 2018, Swamy and his associates allegedly distributed fake insurance bonds to 32,000 adults and 16,000 minors, thereby violating Section 123 of the Act, the election petition by Gowda had alleged.
He had approached the high court in July 2018 and the judgment has come a day after the Election Commission announced the election schedule for the 2023 Assembly election, as per which polling will take place on May 10.