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Disqualification order vitiated: Rebel BJP MLAs tell Karnataka HC

Last Updated: Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 00:21

Bangalore: Eleven rebel BJP MLAs today
told the Karnataka High Court that the Speaker`s order
disqualifying them was "vitiated" and "perverse" and their
action did not attract relevant provisions of the anti-
defection law.

In their contention before a new single judge bench,
which adjourned the hearing till tomorrow, the MLAs said
Speaker K G Bopaiah`s action was based on "conjectures and
surmises" rather than any "cogent and clinching material".

The rebels, whose withdrawal of support to the BJP`s
first-ever government in the south pushed it into a crisis,
said their action did not attract the provisions of para 2 (1)
(a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution that deals with
disqualification of members of a legislature.

Asserting that the Speaker`s order was not based on
any circumstantial evidence which was "clinching and cogent",
they told the court, "The Speaker has relied not on material
on record but on surmises and conjectures".

"It does not make out a case for disqualification. The
Speaker should have ascertained the material on record first.

What is required is proof beyond reasonable doubt, not mere
preponderance," senior counsel B V Acharya, appearing for two
of the BJP MLAs, submitted.

"They (the 11 MLAs) have never told the governor (H R
Bhardwaj) that they supported any other government or any
political party."

The counsel for the 11 BJP MLAs made the submission
when their petitions came up for hearing before a single
judge, Justice V G Sabhahith, to whom the case was referred
after a split verdict by a division bench, comprising Chief
Justice J S Khehar and Justice N Kumar on Monday.

Khehar had upheld the Speaker`s order disqualifying
the 11 MLAs while Justice Kumar set it aside.

Justice Sabhahith, who heard the case today, adjourned
further hearing for tomorrow.

Counsel K G Raghavan, appearing for one of the rebel
MLAs, submitted they had only expressed dissent which is
ingrained in the Tenth schedule of the Constitution.

Referring to the BJP MLAs` October 6 letter to the
governor withdrawing support to the B S Yeddyurappa
government, the counsel said, "It is an honest expression of
an anguish in a manner known to law and the contention of the
Speaker that this has a reference to Article 356 of the
Constitution has no substance."

All that the 11 BJP MLAs have said was that they don`t
want a government headed by the "corrupt" chief minister.
Their contention was that they are ready to support any BJP
government...any leader other than Yeddyurappa.

"There is not even a remote suggestion that we do not
want a BJP government".


First Published: Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 00:21
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