The Karnataka High Court on Monday upheld the disqualification of five independent MLAs under the anti defection law on the eve of last year's October 11 trust vote, which chief minister BS Yeddyurappa won.
The independent MLAs had challenged assembly speaker KG Bopaiah’s orders disqualifying them. In a major relief for the BJP government, a full bench of the High Court comprising justice AS Bopanna, justice Mohan Shantanagoudar and justice S Abdul Nazeer dismissed the independent legislators’ petition and held that the speaker’s decision was not mala fide and conformed to constitutional norms.
Apart from the independent legislators, Bopaiah had disqualified 11 BJP MLAs under the anti defection law after they submitted letters to governor HR Bhardwaj withdrawing support to the Yeddyurappa government.
The independent MLAs -- PM Narendra Swamy, Venkataramanappa, D Sudhakar, S Tangadagi and Goolihatti Shekar -- had challenged their disqualification on the grounds that they were not BJP members. The government, however, maintained they had been ministers and identified with the ruling party.
The government’s counsel had argued, “As per the provisions of the anti defection law, independents identifying with the ruling party and being part of the government as minister for more than six months become liable to be disqualified as much as the ruling party’s legislators.”
During the October flux, governor HR Bhardwaj had forced Yeddyurappa to face a second trust vote. He had won the trial of strength on October 14, securing 106 votes. The opposition Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress had managed 100.