K’taka HC to hear Independent MLAs petition

A full bench of the Karnataka High Court will commence hearing tomorrow on a batch of petitions filed by five Independent MLAs challenging their disqualification from the state Assembly under the anti-defection law.

Last Updated: Nov 01, 2010, 15:51 PM IST

Bangalore: A full bench of the Karnataka High Court will commence hearing tomorrow on a batch of
petitions filed by five Independent MLAs challenging their
disqualification from the state Assembly under the
anti-defection law.

Chief Justice J S Khehar constituted the three-judge
bench, comprising Justices Mohan Shantanagouder, S Abdul
Nazeer and A S Bopanna on October 30 to hear petitions of
Independents who withdrew their support to the BJP government.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar
and Justice N Kumar gave a split verdict on disqualification
of 11 rebel BJP MLAs on October 18 and ruled that another
division bench would hear the petitions filed by the five
Independents.

Justice N Kumar had set aside the disqualification of
the 11 MLAs while Justice Khehar had upheld the Speaker`s
order.

The third judge Justice V G Sabhahit, before whom the
rebel MLAs disqualification case was posted, on October 29
upheld the Speaker`s order disqualifying them, giving a relief
to B S Yeddyurappa government.

Justice Sabhahit, who concurred with Chief Justice J S
Khehar in upholding the disqualification, in his 126-page
judgement observed that the action by rebels in withdrawing
support to their party government amounted to walking out of
the party on the symbol on which they were elected.

The Independents, on whose support BJP cobbled up a
majority in the 224-member Assembly and installed its first-
ever government in the South in 2008, averred in their
petition that they did not violate the anti-defection law as
contended by the BJP as they were elected as independents, not
on the party`s symbol.

However, BJP rejected their contention and insisted
these Independents, inducted in the ministry had become part
and parcel of the party as they had attended legislature party
meetings and accepted whip in the Rajya Sabha biennial polls.

On October 27, the Independents filed another petition
challenging Speaker K G Bopaiah`s order disqualifying them
also on the basis of complaints filed by some voters of their
respective assembly constituencies.

In the wake of the disqualification of 16 MLAs -- 11
from BJP and five independents - resignation by two Congress
and a JDS member from their assembly membership, the effective
strength of the house has come down to 205.

The ruling BJP has a strength of 106, including the
Speaker. It also enjoys support the lone independent, Varthur
Prakash.

The Congress has 71 and JDS 27.
The court in its October 21 ruling, while rejecting
the plea by Independents to allow them to vote in the second
trust vote on October 22, had, however, subjected the result
of motion of confidence to its final verdict on their
petition.

With the Court upholding disqualification of 11 BJP
MLAs, the judgement, either favouring Independents or against
them is unlikely to have an impact on the stability of the
Yeddyurappa government.

PTI