At last, it's sweet victory for them

Seven months of persistent legal battle by 16 disqualified MLAs ended in their vindication on Friday, with the Supreme Court reaffirming their membership of the Assembly.

The MLAs, 11 BJP ‘rebels’ and five independent legislators, were disqualified by Assembly Speaker K B Bopaiah on the eve of trust vote sought by Chief Minister Yeddyurappa on October 11, 2010. The Speaker’s action helped the Government to pass the two back-to-back trust votes comfortably.

The rebels were disqualified by the Speaker who cited anti-party activities by them. The Speaker’s move followed the MLAs’ decision to withdraw their support to the Yeddyurappa Government. Four of the five independent MLAs were Cabinet Ministers.

The legislators had submitted a letter to Governor H R Bhardwaj stating that they had no confidence in the leadership of Yeddyurappa.

They had identified themselves with Opposition JD(S), which had engineered a revolt within the BJP to topple the Government. The disqualified legislators immediately challenged the Speaker’s decision in the Karnataka High Court, which upheld the Speaker’s order disqualifying both the independents and BJP rebels.

Upholding the Speaker’s order against five independents, the full bench of the High Court had held that the legislators, by their action, formed part of the BJP Party and consequently their withdrawal of support to the government attracted disqualification.

“We hope and trust that the elected members of the House would realise the avowed object of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. The elected members shall strengthen the fabric of parliamentary democracy by curbing unprincipled and unethical political defections,” the Bench observed. As for the 11 BJP rebels, the third judge of the High Court upheld the Speaker’s decision under part 2(1)(a) of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, pertaining to the Anti-Defection Act. The case was referred to the third judge as a Division Bench delivered a split verdict.

Having lost in the High Court, the disqualified members were demoralised and many did not even visit their constituencies.

The JD(S), which had instigated them to rebel against the Government, too had distanced itself from them. Many of the rebels did not even have the heart to challenge the High Court order in the apex court.

However, bound by a common cause, the rebels stayed together and approached the Supreme Court, finally emerged victorious.

Back to the Assembly BJP MLAs

Belur Gopalkrishna  (Sagar), Dr Sarvabhouma N Bagali (Indi), Bharamgowda/Raju H Kage (Kagwad), Y Sampangi (Bagepalli), Nanjundaswamy G N (Kollegal), M V Nagaraju (Nelamangala), Sangappa Kalappa Bellubbi (Basavana Bagewadi), Shivanagowda Nayak (Devadurga), H S Shankarlingegowda (Chamaraja), Balachandra Jarkiholi (Arabhavi) and Anand Asnotikar (Karwar).

Five Independent MLAs  Shivaraj Tangadagi (Kanakagiri), D Sudhakar (Hiriyur), P M Narendraswamy (Malavalli), Venkataramanappa (Pavagada), Goolihatti Shekar (Hosadurga). 

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