Paradoxical but legal: BJP’s defence | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Paradoxical but legal: BJP’s defence

Can one have one’s cake and eat it too? One can, if the BJP’s defence of the Karnataka Assembly Speaker’s decision to disqualify 11 BJP and five independent MLAs during the first confidence vote is anything to go by.

delhi Updated: Oct 14, 2010 00:14 IST
Vikas Pathak

Can one have one’s cake and eat it too? One can, if the BJP’s defence of the Karnataka Assembly Speaker’s decision to disqualify 11 BJP and five independent MLAs during the first confidence vote is anything to go by.

For, the party’s argument in favour of the disqualification of the rebel party MLAs and the independents works in contradictory ways: while the party MLAs got disqualified for ditching the party, the independents were disqualified for having associated with the BJP in the first place — and, thereby, losing their independence — rather than for ditching it recently!

It is now up to the High Court to take a technical call on this apparently paradoxical claim.

A BJP leader said the Speaker’s position is legally tenable. About party legislators, paragraph 2(1) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution says that a legislator can be disqualified if he voluntarily gives up his party’s membership or goes against its whip.

As for independent MLAs, the provision works the other way, the BJP leader said. According to paragraph 2(2) of the Tenth Schedule, an elected independent MLA/MP can be disqualified if he joins any political party.

“The SC has ruled in the past that if the facts of the case suggest the elected independent member lost his independence by taking part in a party’s meetings, abiding by its whip or sharing its platform, it can be considered evidence of joining the party, and thus attract disqualification,” a party leader said. “Joining the BJP rather than ditching it was their offence under the Anti-Defection Law.”

But why were they disqualified only for the confidence vote and not earlier if they had already lost their independence? Pat came the reply: “No one complained earlier.”

On disqualification of the party legislators, a leader said, “The SC has ruled that if your actions show you have relinquished the party’s membership, you can be disqualified. In this case, the MLA letters withdrawing support was the clincher.”