NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the disqualification of 17 Congress-JD(S) MLAs in Karnataka on orders of the Speaker but allowed them to contest the December 5 bypolls.

The court struck down the portion of the Speaker's order by which the legislators were disqualified till the end of the 15th Karnataka Assembly.

The apex court's verdict paved way for the disqualified MLAs to contest the December 5 bypolls in Karnataka.

A three-judge bench of justices N V Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari said if elected in bypolls, these disqualified MLAs can become ministers or hold public office.

The bench deprecated the manner in which the disqualified MLAs directly approached it without first moving high court.

The court said its verdict is based on facts and circumstance of case and does not interfere in the Speaker's power to disqualify members.

The top court passed the verdict on petitions filed by these disqualified MLAs.

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