Legal fraternity split over Karnataka 'nataka'

Last Updated : 11 October 2010, 18:40 IST
Last Updated : 11 October 2010, 18:40 IST

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While most agree that the Speaker was in his constitutional right in disqualifying the rebel MLAs, the suspension  of the Independent MLAs from the state Assembly was questionable.

Talking to Deccan Herald, senior Supreme Court advocate Rakesh Dwivedi said there was nothing wrong in the Speaker giving notice to the BJP MLAs as their actions such as submitting letters of withdrawal of support, having their photographs taken with the opposition party leaders, etc, can be sufficient cause for action against them.
However, Dwivedi said, “There is no way the Speaker can disqualify the Independent MLAs who are not bound by any political party.”

He added that the Speaker should have gone for a division in the House instead of merely depending on voice vote. “Even if one member demands the division in the House, it should be granted, the Speaker should not have denied it.”

Another apex court advocate Mohan Katarki raised questions on whether the governor has the constitutional power to rule that the Speaker’s decision was illegal.

“Whether the ruling of the Speaker is right or wrong, it is for the High Court or the Supreme Court to decide,” Katarki said, adding that “the entire strategy of the rebel MLAs failed because they did not understand the key role of the Speaker under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution.”
On the matter of President’s rule in the state, a senior lawyer, who is also a constitutional expert, said the governor does not have the power to issue directions to the Speaker nor has the power to recommend President’s rule under the present circumstances.

“The Speaker has quasi-judicial authority and his actions on proceedings and conduct of the House cannot be questioned. However, disqualification can be challenged,” he said, while declining to be identified.

On the governor’s report to the Centre recommending President’s rule, he said, the former’s powers here were doubtful as the chief minister has won the trust vote under the directions of the governor and technically the government of the day has survived.
However, replying to a question whether the governor can call for a second trust vote in a short period if the court decides against the disqualification of the MLAs, he replied in positive.

“The governor can call for a trust vote provided the legal picture changes and if the Opposition demands it.”

Published 11 October 2010, 18:40 IST

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