HC adjourns disqualified MLAs'' case to January 27

Bangalore, Jan 18 (PTI) The final hearing on petitionsfiled by five disqualified MLAs elected as independents,challenging the Speaker''s order, was adjourned till January 27by the Karnataka High Court today.

P M Narendraswamy, Gulihatti D Shekhar, D Sudhakar,Shivaraj S Thangadagi and Venkataramanappa were disqualifiedby Speaker K G Bopaiah on October 10, a day before thevote of confidence was taken by the B S Yeddyurappa governmentwhich he won.

Days earlier, the five, along with 11 BJP rebel MLAs,had withdrawn support to the chief minister by submitting aletter to Governor H R Bhardwaj.

The Speaker had passed the composite order on separatewrit petitions filed by BJP MLAs C T Ravi and D N Jeevaraj,who is also the Chief Whip of the BJP legislature party, andone voter each from five Assembly constituencies representedby these five MLAs elected as independents, seeking theirdisqualification.

Continuing his arguments before the bench, comprisingJustice Mohan Shantanagoudar, Justice S Abdul Nazeer andJustice A S Bopanna, counsel for Ravi and Jeevaraj, SatyaPal Jain submitted that the fact that the five had joined theBJP government meant that they have joined the party.

"It''s not a coalition government. It''s the BJPgovernment", Jain contended. These disqualified MLAs had beenattending BJP legislature party meetings and they had losttheir "independent character", he argued.

Jain submitted that the five disqualified MLAs went tomeet the Governor to submit withdrawal letter along with 11BJP rebels, their "pleadings" were the same, and their replyto the Speaker''s show-cause notice was "almost identical".

"They (the five disqualified MLAs) were part andparcel of the BJP", he said.

Pointing to these MLAs'' letter withdrawing support toYeddyurappa in which they have said they are doing so in theinterests of the BJP, among other reasons, Jain observed thatonly BJP members are "interested" in the party interests andnot others.

He also argued that the Speaker''s order cannot besubjected to judicial review, and also that there is no bar onvoters from filing petitions before the Speaker.

Counsel for the five disqualified MLAs had earlierargued that they had never joined the BJP as they prayed forsetting aside the Speaker''s disqualification order.

Jain''s arguments remained inconclusive, and the matterwas adjourned for further hearing to January 27.

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