Karnataka: BJP rebel MLAs to stay disqualified

Karnataka HC on Friday upheld the disqualification of 11 rebel BJP MLAs by Speaker KG Bopaiah.

Updated: Oct 30, 2010, 00:15 AM IST

Bangalore: In a big shot in the arm for the
BJP government in the state, a third judge of the Karnataka
High Court today upheld the disqualification of the 11 rebel
party MLAs from the Assembly.

Justice V G Sabhahit, to whom the matter was referred after
a split verdict by a division bench, today gave his verdict in
which he concurred with Chief Justice J S Khehar, who had
upheld Speaker K G Bopaiah`s October 10 disqualification
order.

Justice N Kumar, part of the division bench, had differed
with Chief Justice and set aside the disqualification order.

Today`s order may obviate the need for any fresh vote of
confidence in the Assembly as the court had earlier ruled
before the second confidence vote this month that its outcome
would depend on the verdict on the petitions of the 16
disqualified MLAs, including 5 Independents.

The question of another floor test may arise only if the
Supreme Court reverses the verdict of the High Court on any
petition the dissident MLAs may file.

In his 126-page order, Justice Sabhahit said the Oct 6
letter of 11 MLAs to Governor H R Bhardwaj withdrawing support
to the BJP government would lead to the inevitable inference
that their intention was to voluntarily give up party
membership.

"The Speaker`s order is in consonance with provisions of
Para 2(1)(a) of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution", he
said concurring with the opinion expressed by the Chief
Justice.

The judge observed that it is clear that though the
petitioners had incurred disqualification on Oct six, the
decision is ex post facto and the Speaker is entitled to take
into account the material produced before him, which is not
disputed by the legislators against whom action was sought to
be taken.

"The writ petitions may be placed before the Division
Bench for passing the final order", Justice Sabhahit said.

Shortly after the verdict was delivered, counsel for rebel
MLAs said they would challenge the order before the Supreme
Court, while ruling party leaders welcomed it as a "triumph
for truth".

"This is an epoch making verdict and a major step towards
eradicating the menace of defection in the country," a
relieved Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said, adding "this
order has come as a warning bell to those who indulge in
defection".

BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said the verdict would act as
a deterrent for all political defectors across the country and
ruled out taking back the rebels, whom he described as
"traitors".

Former Chief Minister and JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy, who
had spearheaded the rebellion in BJP by taking the rebel MLAs
out of the state earlier this month, expressed his continued
support to them in what he described as "their fight against
corrupt BJP government".

-PTI