New twist in Karnataka Independents disqualification case

Monday, November 8, 2010

BANGALORE - The disqualification case of five Independent lawmakers of Karnataka Monday took a new turn with two of the five voters, on whose petition the five legislators lost the assembly membership, claiming they were forced to lodge the complaint.

The two voters Monday filed an affidavit in the Karnataka High Court, which is hearing the Independents’ petition challenging the disqualification, saying that their signatures were forcibly taken by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.

The five Independent lawmakers were disqualified Oct 10 by Assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah on the basis of the complaint by these five voters, who said these legislators had betrayed their voters by rebelling against Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

These five Independents along with 11 Bharatiya Janata Party lawmakers had told Governor H. R. Bhardwaj Oct 6 they no longer had confidence in Yeddyurappa.

Bopaiah disqualified all the 16 lawmakers Oct 10, a day ahead of the trust vote sought by Yeddyurappa. The chief minister won a second trust vote Oct 14 as the first one on Oct 11 was termed by Bhardwaj to be not in order.

The disqualification of the 11 has been upheld by the high court while the case of the Independents is being heard by a three-judge bench of Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice A.S. Bopanna.

The five Independents are Shivaraj S. Thangadagi, D. Sudhakar, Gulihatti D. Shekhar, Ventakaramanappa and P.M. Narendraswamy.

The three judges had Nov 2 issued notices to the five voters, the speaker and the chief minister to respond to the Independents’ petition challenging their disqualification.

When the court took up the case for further hearing Monday, the two voters submitted their affidavit. The three other voters are yet to respond to the notice and they have been given time till Nov 12 when the hearing will resume.

On Monday Yeddyurappa’s lawyer told the judges that the chief minister cannot be made a party in the case.

The chief minister “is not a party before the speaker”, Yeddyurappa’s counsel said as the decision to disqualify was taken based on the complaint of the voters.

The bench gave time till Nov 12 for Yeddyurappa to respond.

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