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Relief for K`taka CM, rebel Independent MLAs petition dismissed

The Karnataka HC upheld Speaker`s order disqualifying five independent MLAs from the Assembly.

Bangalore: In a relief to the ruling BJP,
the Karnataka High Court today upheld Speaker K G Bopaiah`s
order disqualifying five independent MLAs, who had withdrawn
support to the government, from the assembly membership on the
eve of October 11 trust vote which it won.

"... We are of the view that the impugned order passed
by the Speaker is not in violation of constitutional mandate
nor is there any infirmity based on malafides or perversity,"
a full bench of the court said in a 190-page verdict,
dismissing their petitions challenging the disqualification.

Gulihatti D Shekar, Venkataramanappa, P M
Narendraswamy, D Sudhakar and Shivaraj Thangadagi -- all
elected as Independents -- were disqualified by the Speaker on
October ten, a day before the B S Yeddyurappa government took
a vote of confidence on the floor of the Assembly which it won
by voice-vote amid pandemonium.
The BJP government later accepted an offer made by the
governor to seek the trust vote again, if it wished, on
October 14 and won it 106 votes in favour and 100 against.

On October six, these five MLAs along with 11 rebel
BJP MLAs had submitted a letter to Bhardwaj withdrawing
support to Yeddyurappa.

Bopaiah had passed the concurrent order on separate
petitions filed by BJP MLAs C T Ravi and D N Jeevaraj, who is
also Chief Whip of the BJP legislature party, and a voter each
from their five Assembly segments they represented seeking
disqualification on grounds of defection.

The disqualified MLAs filed the petitions in the high
court praying for quashing of the Speaker`s order as illegal,
void and not enforceable.
During the hearing, the disqualified MLAs through
their counsel argued that they never joined the BJP, while
the rival petitioners submitted that by their conduct they had
lost independent character and indeed had joined the party.

While pronouncing the orders, the bench, comprising
Justices Mohan Shantanagoudar, S Abdul Nazeer and A S Bopanna,
held that the complaints filed by the five voters from their
constituencies seeking disqualification are maintainable,
rejecting the contention of the petitioners that they have no
locus standi.

The bench observed that it is not in dispute that the
petitioners have acted in accordance with the directions
issued by the Chief Whip.

"If really the petitioners were not the members of the
legislature party of BJP, they would not have received the
`whip` sent by the Chief Whip of that party," the order noted.

Yeddyurappa welcomes HC order

Bangalore: Karnataka Chief Minister B S
Yeddyurappa today termed as a historic judgment, the decision
of the High Court to uphold Speaker`s order, disqualifying
five independent MLAs from Assembly membership.

"It is a historic judgement that will go a long way in
strengthening the roots of democracy and restricting
legislators from anti-party activities," he said.

"It is a big lesson to all the MLAs and MPs and all
Ayarams and Gayarams in this state and other states," he told
reporters while reacting to the verdict.

"I welcome the decision of the High Court. It is a
victory for the legisaltive process," he said, hailing the
dismissal of petitions filed by independent MLAs challenging
their disqualification.


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