K’taka HC upholds disqualification of independent MLAs

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Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court on February 14 upheld the Speaker’s order disqualifying five independent MLAs, who had withdrawn support to the ruling BJP, from the assembly membership on the eve of the October 11 trust vote, which the B.S. Yeddyurappa government won.

Dismissing petitions filed by the five MLAs challenging their disqualification by Speaker K.G. Bopaiah, a full bench of the court pronounced the verdict which held that the October 10 order is not in violation of Constitutional mandate nor  is there any infirmity based  on mala fides or perversity.

The Speaker had disqualified 16 MLAs — 11 from BJP and five Independents — under the anti-defection law before Yeddyurappa won a vote a confidence on the floor of the assembly, passing a concurrent order on separate petitions seeking their disqualification.

The petitions had been filed by BJP MLAs C.T. Ravi and D.N. Jevaraj and a voter each from five constituencies from where the five were elected.

The bench, comprising Justice Mohan Shanta-nagoudar, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice A.S. Bopanna, held that the petitions filed by the five voters are “maintainable.”

The five MLAs — Gulihatti D. Shekar, Venkatarama-nappa, P.M. Narendraswamy, D. Sudhakar and Shivaraj Thangadagi — prayed for quashing the Speaker’s order as “illegal, void and not enforceable” on the ground that they were not BJP members.

But the BJP had maintained that they had joined it and attended its legislature party meetings.

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