Karnataka rebel legislators’ case hearing to resume Thursday


Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court will Thursday resume hearing the appeal of 11 ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators against their disqualification as arguments were inconclusive Wednesday.

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A single judge bench of V.G. Sabhahit started hearing the case Wednesday after Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and another judge N. Kumar Monday differed on the issue.

Khehar upheld state assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah’s decision to disqualify the 11 legislators after they told Governor H.R. Bhardwaj that they have lost confidence in Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Kumar quashed Bopaiah’s order.

Following the split verdict, Khehar decided to refer the issue to a single judge of the court and named Sabhahit to hear the case.

The appeal of five Independent legislators, who were also disqualified along with the 11 BJP lawmakers, will come up before a two-judge bench on Nov 2.

The 16 were disqualified by the speaker invoking the anti-defection law of 1985 just ahead of a trust vote in the assembly Oct 11. Yeddyurappa won the vote amid chaos and unruly scenes and a dissatisfied Bhardwaj told him to seek a second trust vote Oct 14.

Yeddyurappa won that test by 106 votes to 100 in the 225-member assembly whose strength was reduced to 209 following the disqualification of the 16 legislators.

Khehar and Kumar had ruled that the trust vote outcome was subject to their decision on the appeal of the 16 lawmakers against their disqualification.

The revolt against Yeddyurappa, the second after he took over as BJP’s first chief minister in Karnataka in May 2008, was sparked by dissatisfaction over denial of cabinet berth to many BJP aspirants.

The Independents joined their ranks as one of them had been dropped from the ministry recently and the four others feared losing their posts.

The five independents were rewarded with ministry as they helped BJP to form the government in May 2008 as it had fallen short of majority. The party had won only 110 seats in the 225-strong house, including one nominated member.