The hearing stretched over three hours at the VIP chambers in Legislators’ Home amid tight security even as a letter written by the Governor reached the office of the Speaker directing the latter that no attempt be made to change the configuration of the House after the Assembly had been summoned for the trust vote.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, senior counsel Satyapal Jain said the disqualification notice had been filed under the provision of Para 2 of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.
“The anti-defection law provides for disqualification of a legislator if he or she voluntarily gives up the membership of the party. By withdrawing support to the government as stated in their letter to the Governor, they have voluntarily given up membership of the party on which they were elected and are a fit case for disqualifaction,” Jain contended.
He argued that the anti-defection law also provided for disqualification of independents if they join a political party. The five independents had technically joined the BJP as they have been attending legislature party meetings. The anti-defection law was passed by Parliament to curb anti-party activities and need to be followed in its spirit, he contended.
The BJP on Sunday withdrew its disqualification petition against two legislators - M P Renukacharya and Narasimha Naik (Raju Gowda) as the two had returned to the party fold. The ruling party has petitioned the Speaker to disqualify the Legislative Assembly membership of a total of 16 legislators (11 BJP rebels and five independents).
In their arguments, counsel for the respondents, K G Raghavan and Prasanth contended that the basic principle of natural justice providing for seven days time to respond to a show-cause notice had been violated as the Speaker had provided only four to two days time to reply.
Besides, the respondents in their letter to the Governor had stated that they were not happy with the party leader in the House (the chief minister). At no point of time had the respondents come out of the BJP or indulged in anti-party activities, Raghavan argued.
“If the BJP can suddenly withdraw its disqualification petition against Renukacharya, then why should not the same principle apply to others?” he asked.