‘Decision of Speaker, upheld by court, was ex facie illegal'

Two of the five Independents, whose disqualification by the Karnataka Assembly Speaker was upheld by the Karnataka High Court, moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

In their special leave petitions, S. Thangadagi and D. Sdudhakar said they were among those disqualified on October 10, 2010, on the ground of defection, under para 2(2) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. Besides the petitioners, Venkataramanappa, Gulihatti D. Shekar and P.M. Narendra Swamy were disqualified.

The Full Bench of the High Court, by the impugned judgment, had dismissed their writ petitions against the Speaker's decision.

The petitioners said the Speaker's decision, upheld by the High Court, was ex facie illegal and without jurisdiction, and was null and void. They pointed out that the BJP always treated them as Independents even as they served as Ministers in the Cabinet.

“It is a travesty of justice that two years and five months later, when the petitioners themselves, as Independents, had lost confidence in the functioning of the Chief Minister on account of his corruption, the BJP members were allowed to now turn around and say that two years and five months ago, when the petitioners joined the council of Ministers, they stood disqualified.”

This would be a perversion of the Tenth Schedule. Both the ruling party and the Opposition party accepted the position that they were not disqualified by accepting membership of the Council of Ministers and they continued as Independents.

The SLPs said the Independents by joining the Council of Ministers, without joining the ruling party, could never result in the five independent MLAs becoming members of the political party.

They would only become members of the government or members of the council of Ministers, “which is not a political party.”

Explaining the concept of coalition, they said, “for example, if there is a coalition government, as at the Centre or in many other States, if Independents are invited to join the government/the council of Ministers, they could never be treated as members of any of the political party/parties which formed the coalition but would only be members of the Council of Ministers or members of the government which rules the State.

“This basic position in law, and under the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution, has not been appreciated by the High Court.”

More In: Karnataka | National | News | States