SC reserves ruling in dismissed State MLAs' case

A Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph reserved the verdict as the counsel for the four MLAs Gopala Krishna Belur, Shivanagaouda Naik, Shankaralinge Gowda and Bellubbi and Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and the State Assembly speaker wrapped up their arguments.

The disqualified legislators had moved the apex court with their special leave petitions contending that the issue raised substantial questions of laws having serious implications for the democratic representative government.

The matter was also related to an interpretation of the provisions of the Tenth Schedule and the rules made there under it, they submitted.

Arguing on their behalf, senior advocate P P Rao claimed that the office of the speaker failed utterly to uphold the values enshrined in the Constitution and disqualified the MLAs merely to save the government.

Appearing on behalf of the chief minister, senior counsel Soli J Sorabjee sought time till February 19 to file rejoinder in the case.

The disqualified legislators had contended that they had made a categorical statement in their replies to the show-cause notices then issued by the speaker that they had no intention at all to leave the BJP or membership of its legislature party and that their letter to the Governor was aimed at merely “cleansing the image of the party by getting rid of (B S) Yeddyurappa as chief minister”.

Democratic dissent, without any intention of leaving the party but in the hope of saving its image and reputation by getting rid of a “corrupt” chief minister, cannot be regarded as voluntarily giving up party membership, they had claimed.

They further alleged that Speaker K G Bopaiah had disqualified them well before the voting could actually take place in the Assembly on apprehension that they would cast their vote against the chief minister.

Justice V G Sabhahit, a third judge in the Karnataka High Court had on October 29 last year upheld the disqualification of 11 rebel BJP MLAs, concurring with the decision of the Chief Justice. A Division Bench of Chief Justice J S Kehar and Justice N Kumar had earlier given a split verdict on the issue.

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