The ruling BJP government in Karnataka suffered a setback on Friday with the SC quashing the assembly Speaker's decision to disqualify 16 MLAs hours before October 11, 2010 no-confidence motion against the Yeddyurrapa government.
A bench headed by justice Altamas Kabir held the Speaker had not observed the basic constitutional values and principles of natural justice while disqualifying the 11 BJP MLAs and five independent legislators.
Setting aside October 29, 2010 Karnataka high court judgment upholding the MLA's disqualification, the SC said "extraneous consideration was writ large on the speaker's decision. It added the MLAs should have got sufficient opportunity to "meet the allegations levelled against them."The SC further added a Speaker must act impartially, without any leaning towards any party, including the party from which he was elected to the House.
Aggrieved by the verdict, four of the 11 disqualified BJP legislators — Gopala Krishana Belur, Shivanagaouda Naik, Shanker Linge Gowda and Bellubbi —had approached the SC.
The MLAs contended their disqualification had raised questions of constitutional and administrative laws of public importance. It was argued that the MLAs had replied to the speaker's show-cause notice in which they clarified there was no intention to leave BJP. Their letter to the governor was apparently to "clean the image of the party by getting rid of BS Yeddyurappa as chief minister."
Reacting to the SC order Yeddyurappa said: "We would obey the order of the Supreme Court. People are with us. It's proved today...all the three seats (bypolls) we have won."
Opposition Congress leader Siddaramaiah said the SC had done justice to 16 MLAs.
The BJP government’s survival now hinges on the decision of the rebel 11 BJP MLAs, as the state government has been reduced to a minority. Its strength is of only 109 members including the Speaker. BJP also has the support of lone Independent. The Congress has 71 and JDS has 26 seats.