The rebel cause suffered a setback on Friday when a judge of the Karnataka High Court upheld the October 10, 2010 order of Speaker K.G. Bopaiah that disqualified 11 BJP rebels from Assembly membership.

Reading out the operative portion of the judgment, Justice V.G. Sabhahit said he concurred with the views of Chief Justice J.S. Khehar upholding the disqualification. He ordered that the judgment be placed before the Division Bench, which gave a split verdict on October 18, for pronouncement.

The case was referred to Justice Sabhahit after the Bench of Justices Khehar and N. Kumar differed on the disqualification issue. While the Chief Justice held that the Speaker had the power under Section 2 (1) (a) of the Tenth Schedule to disqualify the rebels, Justice N. Kumar set aside the Speaker's order.

Disagreeing with Justice Kumar, Justice Sabhahit said the letters given by the rebels to the Governor indicated that they intended to voluntarily give up their BJP membership. “Their conduct is incompatible with the continuance of their membership in the BJP.”

Justice Sabhahit said he agreed with the Chief Justice that the MLAs could not contend that they had no confidence in the Chief Minister, even while remaining members of the party, especially when they had unanimously elected Mr. Yeddyurappa leader of the Legislature Party.

On the letter of the rebels to the Governor, he said: “It is clear that the intention of the petitioners was to bring to the notice of the Governor that a contingency has arisen to initiate action under Article 356 …, and they are withdrawing support to the government.”

Justice Sabhahit said when voters cast their vote, they elected a person with the expectation that the political party which had put him up should come to power. Therefore, political propriety and morality demanded that if the conduct of a person was incompatible with the loyalty expected by his party and the voter, he should be disqualified, and he should go before the electorate.