Bangalore: In what may come as a breather for Chief Minister BS Yedyurappa, the two-judge bench of the Karnataka High Court on Monday differed on the disqualification of 11 BJP MLAs under the anti-defection law by Assembly Speaker KG Bopaiah.
According to reports, the two-member bench led by Chief Justice Khehar Singh and Justice N Kumar held different views on the disqualification of MLAs by the Speaker.
On the disqualification of 11 BJP MLAs, Chief Justice Khehar Singh upheld the Speaker`s order but Justice N Kumar rejected it categorically. The bench posted matter of 11 BJP MLAs for hearing before a third judge on Oct 20.
On the disqualification of 5 Independent MLAs, the bench agreed that it should be heard by "some other bench".
The development took place after a petition filed by five independent MLAs, challenging their disqualification from the state Assembly, came up for hearing in the Karnataka High Court today.
In the petition, the five independent MLAs contended that they cannot be disqualified as they won the election as independents.
As of now the court’s ruling has come as a big relief for the BJP government, which has pinned high hopes on the court ruling since its fate still hangs in balance.
The court had last week ruled that the outcome of the October 14 trust vote of the BS Yeddyurappa government would be subject to its final decision on this petition.
The High Court, which had reserved orders on the petitions filed by 11 rebel BJP MLAs, challenging their disqualification under anti-defection law by Assembly Speaker KG Bopaiah, had refused interim relief to all the 16 MLAs, who sought a stay on their disqualification.
They had also filed an advanced application before the court on October 13 on the eve of the Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa seeking the second trust vote for an order to allow them to vote in person or to keep their votes in a sealed cover till the court announced its verdict, which was also rejected.
The Speaker had disqualified 16 MLAs on October 10, a day ahead of the first vote of confidence bringing down the effective strength of the 224-member Assembly to 208.
Though Yeddyurappa won the trust vote by voice vote, Governor HR Bhardwaj rejected it as a "farce" and directed him to go in for the second floor test on October 14, which the chief minister managed to win by head court by a margin of 106-100. Two MLAs -- Manappa Vajjal from BJP and MC Ashwath of JD(S) -- were absent which brought down the effective strength of the 224-member Assembly to 206.
With PTI Inputs