HC dismisses five Karnataka MLAs'' plea on disqualification

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Bangalore, Feb 14 (PTI) In a shot in the arm forB S Yeddyurappa government, the Karnataka High Court todayupheld the Speaker''s order disqualifying five independentMLAs, who had withdrawn support to the ruling BJP, from theassembly membership on the eve of October 11 trust vote whichit won.

Dismissing petitions filed by the five MLAschallenging their disqualification by Speaker K G Bopaiah,a full bench of the court pronounced the verdict which heldthat the October 10 order is not in violation ofconstitutional mandate nor is there any infirmity based onmalafides or perversity.

The Speaker had disqualified 16 MLAs -- 11 from BJPand five Independents -- under anti-defection law before Chiefminister B S Yeddyurappa won a vote a confidence on the floorof the Assembly, passing a concurrent order on separatepetitions seeking their disqualification.

The petitions had been filed by BJP MLAs C T Ravi andD N Jevaraj and a voter each from five constituencies fromwhere the five were elected.

The bench, comprising Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar,Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Justice A S Bopanna, held that thepetitions filed by the five voters are "maintainable".

The five MLAs -- Gulihatti D Shekar, Venkataramanappa,P M Narendraswamy, D Sudhakar and Shivaraj Thangadagi --prayed for quashing the Speaker''s order as "illegal, voidand not enforceable" on the ground that they were not BJPmembers.

But the BJP had maintained that they had joined it andattended its legislature party meetings.

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