SC reserves verdict on disqualified Karnataka MLAs

New Delhi, Feb 11 (PTI) The Supreme Court today reservedits judgement on the special leave petition filed by four ofthe 11 disqualified Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs in Karnatakaagainst the High Court order upholding the Speaker''s decision.

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Josephreserved the verdict after hearing at length counsel for thefour MLAs Gopala Krishana Belur, Shivanagaouda Naik, ShankerLinge Gowda and Bellubbi besides lawyers for Chief Minister BS Yeddyuruppa and the State Assembly Speaker.

In their special leave petition, the MLAs said theirdisqualification has raised substantial questions ofconstitutional and administrative laws of public importancehaving serious implications for the democratic representativegovernment and involving an interpretation of the provisionsof the Tenth Schedule and the rules made thereunder.

They submitted that they had made a categorical statementthey had made in their replies to the show-cause issued by theSpeaker that they had no intention at all of leaving BJP ormembership of its legislature party and that their letter tothe Governor was aimed at "cleansing the image of the party bygetting rid of Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister,"

According to the petition, democratic dissent, withoutany intention of leaving the party but in the hope of savingits image and reputation by getting rid of a "corrupt" ChiefMinister, cannot be regarded as voluntarily giving up partymembership as such.

It was submitted that they were disqualified beforethe voting actually took place in the assembly apprehendingthat they would vote against the Chief Minister on thespecious ground that they had voluntarily given up BJPmembership.

On October 29, a third judge in the Karnataka High Courthad upheld the disqualification of 11 rebel BJP MLAs,concurring with the decision of the chief justice.

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