New Delhi, Jan 25: Holding the disqualification of 16 Karnataka assembly members as mala fide, the Supreme Court Wednesday said that the speaker acted in haste to ensure that then chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa did not lose a trust vote.
“Therefore, we hold that the impugned order of the speaker is vitiated by mala fides,” said an apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph.
Justice Kabir said: “Unless it was to ensure that the trust vote did not go against the chief minister, there was hardly any reason for the speaker to have taken up the disqualification applications in such a great haste.”
The court said this in a detailed judgment in pursuance of its May 13, 2011 order restoring the membership of 16 disqualified Karnataka legislators whose assembly membership was terminated on the eve of the trust vote.
The legislators were disqualified by Speaker K.G. Bopaiah Oct 10, 2010, a day before the trial of strength of the government Oct 11.
The disqualification of the 11 Bharatiya Janata Party lawmakers and five independent legislators was upheld by the Karnataka High Court Feb 14, 2011.
The disqualified BJP legislators were Balachandra Jarkiholi, Belur Gopalakrishna, Anand Asnotikar, Sarvabowma Bagali, V. Nagaraju, Raje Kage, Y. Sampangi, Nanjundaswamy, S.K. Bellubbi, H.S. Shankara Lingegowda and Shivanagouda Naik.
The five disqualified independents were Gulihatti Shekar, D. Sudhakar, P.M. Narendra Swamy, Venkataramanappa and Shivaraj Tangadagi.
“It is obvious from the procedure adopted by the speaker that he was trying to meet the time schedule set by the governor for the trial of strength in the assembly and to ensure that the appellants…stood disqualified prior to the date on which the floor test was to be held,” the judgment said.