Speaker faces SC criticism

Action amounts to denial of principles of natural justice

A bench of Justices Altmas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph noted that he had acted against principles of “fair play and natural justice” and in “hot haste” in decision where “extraneous consideration” was writ large.

The court pointed out the Speaker had allowed the allegations that the MLAs stood disqualified for writing letters to Governor expressing their disillusionment with Chief Minister Yeddyurappa, going from Karnataka to Goa in a group, allegedly being in touch with J D (S) leader H D Kumarswamy.

“In our view, not only did the Speaker’s action amount to denial of the principles of natural justice to the Appellants, but it also reveals a partisan trait in the Speaker’s approach in disposing of the Disqualification Application filed by Yeddyurappa,” the Court said.

In its 124-page verdict with regard to 11 disqualified BJP MLAs, the Bench said that the Speaker did not have enough evidence to act against them.

Affidavit filed

“Except for the affidavit filed by KS Eswarappa, BJP state president, and the statements of two of the thirteen MLAs, who had been joined in the Disqualification Application, there is nothing on record in support of the allegations which had been made therein,” the Court said.Bharatiya Janatha Party Chief Minister Yeddyurappa had sought disqualification of 13 BJP and 5 independent MLAs for raising a banner of revolt against him by writing to Governor on October 6, last year for alleged “corruption, nepotism and favouritism”.

Out of 13 Bharatiya Janatha Party legislators, two MP Renukacharya and Narasimha Nayak had retracted and could save themselves from disqualification.

“All the MLAs stood immediately disqualified under paragraph 2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution, and they (Renukacharya and Nayak), accordingly, permitted to participate in the Confidence Vote for reasons which are not required to be spelt out,”  the Court said. The Bench also noted that the Speaker gave just three days time to the legislators on then October 7, in violation of the anti-defection law to respond to show cause notices.

Better opportunity

“It was a matter of survival as far as the Appellants were concerned. In such circumstances, they deserved a better opportunity of meeting the allegations made against them,” the Court said, adding that the Speaker had acted in “hurry” by disqualifying them on October 10, 2010.

The Governor had asked Yeddyurappa government to prove his confidence vote till October 12, last.

The vote of confidence was won by Bharatiya Janatha Party government led-by Yeddyurappa on October 11, 2010.

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