Splinter group will not make a political party: Karnataka HC

The High Court has said that coming out from a political party and forming a splinter group will not make such a group the political party. The court observed this while dismissing the petition filed by seven councilors of Kollegal City Municipal Council (CMC), challenging the disqualification from the membership of the council.

The petitioners Pavithra and six others were elected as councilors on Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket in the elections held in 2018. After two years of the constitution of the council, notification for the elections to the office of the president and vice-president was issued on October 22, 2020. The BSP national party had issued instructions to vote in favor of the mandate of the whip.

The petitioners voted in favor of a rebel candidate and the official BSP national party candidate secured only two votes. The deputy commissioner of the Mysuru district disqualified the petitioners from the membership of the Council on September 6, 2021, based on the complaint by the lost candidate on the ground that they had violated the direction and had defected from the party.

It was informed to the court that the petitioners had resigned from the primary membership of the party long before the elections to the office of president and vice-president. The petitioners contended that there is a complete failure of Sections 3 and 4 of the Karnataka Local Authorities (Prohibition of Defection) Act, 1987. It was also contended that section 3A of the Act protects the disqualification of a member in case of a split in the political party.

Justice M Nagaprasanna noted that the protection is not available since merely coming out from a political party and forming a splinter group will not make them a political party. “They should either form a political party and seek recognition or show that they have joined a political party which is recognized by the Election Commission of India. It is only then the petitioners can claim that they are protected under Section 3A of the Act, ”the court said.

The court further pointed out that while the elections, to the office of president and vice-president, took place eight months after the resignation, the petitioners have not produced any evidence to show that their splinter group is a recognized political party or they have joined any recognized political party.

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