Hearing of independent MLAs' pleas resumes

With the apex court dismissing the petitions challenging BJP’s petition on impleading the Chief Minister in the matter, the full bench comprising Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar, Justice Abdul Nazeer and Justice A S Bopanna began the hearing of the pleas by independent MLAs on Monday.

Senior counsel P P Rao, appearing on behalf of independent MLAs, submitted that there was no evidence to prove that five independent MLAs had joined the BJP.

Stating that the Speaker had taken an arbitrary decision by disqualifying the MLAs without allowing them to file their objections before him, Rao said the records of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly indicated the strength of 13th Karnataka Legislative Assembly and the petitioners were considered as independent MLAs (116+5). “These records are maintained by the Speaker's office. How can the Speaker go against his own records by disqualifying the independent MLAs,” he questioned.

Rao said the order disqualifying the MLAs was not placed before the House. “This order was totally perverse and violates the principles of natural justice,” he said.

 He  said all the five MLAs supported the government, “They just supported the BJP government. They have only attended the functions and meetings as invitees as ministers of Yeddyurappa government, but never addressed the gathering," the counsel submitted.
The Anti-Defection Law would apply only when a member of a party joins or leaves a party and disqualification law applies only when a member leaves the party voluntarily, the counsel added.

The bench adjourned the hearing to January 17.

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