Bengaluru, A day before the trust vote on the B.S. Yeddiyurappa government, Karnataka Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar on Sunday disqualified 14 rebel legislators of the Congress and JD-S for defying their parties’ whip. All these MLAS announced they will move the Supreme Court against the decision.
The 14 MLAs had remained absent from the House on July 23, when then Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy put the confidence motion to vote.
“As the remaining 11 Congress and 3 JD-S rebel legislators also defied their respective party’s whip by remaining absent from the Assembly on July 23 when the motion was to put vote, they have violated the anti-defection law,” the Speaker told reporters as one of the reasons for disqualifying them under the 10th Schedule, read with the Constitution’s Article 191(2).
The motion was defeated by voice vote and division of votes on the insistence of then opposition leader Yeddiyurappa.
The 11 Congress lawmakers disqualified are Pratap Gouda Patil (Maski), B.C. Patil (Hirekerur), Shivaram Hebbar (Yellapur), S.T. Someshekhar (Yeshwantapur), Byrati Basavraj (K.R. Puram), Anand Singh (Vijayanagar), R. Roshan Baig (Shivajinagar), Muniratna (R.R. Nagar), K. Sudhakar (Chikkaballapur), M.T.B. Nagaraj (Hoskote) and Shrimant Patil (Kagawad).
The three Janata Dal-Secular legislators are A.H. Vishwanath (Hunsur), Narayan Gowda (K.R. Pete) and K. Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout).
Three rebel Congress legislators — Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Mahesh Kumatahalli (Athani) and R. Shankar (Ranebennur) — were disqualified on July 25 for defying their party’s whip to attend the Assembly and vote in favour of the motion.
The rebel MLAs said that they were not surprised by the decision.
“We are not surprised by the Speaker’s decision against us, as it was expected after he disqualified three Congress legislators on Friday on same grounds. We will challenge his decision on Monday in the Supreme Court where our petitions are pending since July 10,” JD-S rebel Vishwanath told news channels from Mumbai.
The three Congress rebels MLAs disqualified on July 25 have also decided on Saturday to approach the apex court on Monday for staying the Speaker’s decision, as the reasons he gave against them “were not in line with the provisions of the anti-defection law”.
“As the 3-judge bench of the top court in its July 17 interim orders said the Speaker’s decision had to be placed before it for scrutiny, we will appeal to stay the disqualifications because our resignations were with him (Speaker) since July 11 for acceptance even before the parties complained against us and the whips were issued,” Vishwanath said.
The rebels also contend that the bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, had ruled they could not be compelled to attend the Assembly when the confidence motion was moved and put to vote because their resignations were with the Speaker to accept or reject and he could not disqualify them, as they did not violate the anti-defection law.
Shankar, who resigned as cabinet minister on July 8 and withdrawn support to the coalition government, had told reporters that the “Speaker’s reason for disqualifying me is as I had merged my regional party (KPJP) with the Congress on June 14 when I was made minister again and the party whip was also applicable to me although there is no intimation from the Speaker’s office on accepting or acknowledging my party’s mergence with the Congress”.
Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah also complained to the Speaker that Shankar gave a letter to Governor Vajubhai Vala on July 8, declaring his support to the BJP while he was still a “member of the Congress”.
Similarly, Patil, who too did not resign like Shankar, has been disqualified for being absent on July 23 despite informing the Speaker on July 19 that he would not able to attend, as he was in a Mumbai hospital for treatment since July 17.
Baig, Sudhakar and Nagaraj of the Congress were also disqualified though they personally submitted their resignations to the Speaker in the prescribed format on July 10 and July 11.
“The reason the Speaker gave for our disqualification is that since we are legislators till our resignations are accepted or rejected, the party’s whip was equally applicable to us and its violation incurs disqualification,” Baig, who had suspended from the party last month for anti-party activities, told reporters here.