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K’taka HC to decide fate of rebel MLAs
Bangalore, Oct 20 (Agencies):
Published on 20 Oct. 2010 11:52 PM IST
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The fate of 11 rebel BJP MLAs in Karnataka will be decided on Wednesday with a third judge of the High Court taking up the case after the two-judge bench differed on the issue of their disqualification by the Assembly Speaker.
On Monday, the two-judge bench led by Chief Justice Khehar Singh alongwith Justice N Kumar differed on the disqualification of the MLAs under the anti-defection law. The bench differed on the provisions of para 2 (1) (A) of the 10th schedule of the Constitution that deals with the disqualification of members of a legislature.
While Chief Justice Khehar Singh upheld the Speaker's order, Justice N Kumar aired his difference of opinion on the validity of the disqualification.
Following which they posted the matter for further hearing today by a third judge – Justice VG Sabhahit was later appointed to head the single judge bench. The court also ruled that the fate of vote in the House on October 14 will depend on its final verdict in the case.
The first BJP government in the south had proved its majority twice in the truncated Assembly; first by voice vote and second time by head count in which 106 MLAs were found to be in favour of the government, while 100 were against it.
On the issue of disqualification of 5 Independent MLAs, the two-member bench of the court had referred the matter to a division bench, which will hear it on November 2.
Late on the night of October 10, the Speaker had disqualified 11 BJP MLAs and 5 Independent MLAs under the anti-defection law ahead of the trust vote by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.
On October 11, amidst pandemonium, the Speaker had declared the Chief Minister's confidence motion carried by a voice vote which the Opposition had contested.
But, Governor H R Bhardwaj called the proceedings in unconstitutional and recommended President's Rule in the state.
However, the next day he gave the Chief Minister another opportunity to prove his majority in the House on October 14.
The disqualified MLAs had by then approached the High Court challenging their disqualification. The Court after hearing the arguments refused to give any interim relief - before the vote of confidence- and posted the matter for hearing on October 18.
Meanwhile, cracks are appearing on the Opposition side. After the resignation of JD(S) MLA M C Ashwath – who had defied the party’s whip during the trust vote – from the Assembly, yesterday it was the turn of Congress MLA SV Ramachandra. Following which top leaders of the party staged a sit-in protest in front of Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa's house here accusing the ruling BJP of engineering poaching.

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