New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that mere extension of support by Independent MLAs to a ruling party does not indicate that they have joined it and cannot be disqualified under the anti-defection law if they withdraw support to the government.
A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph in a judgement held that there was no legal bar on Independents extending support to the ruling party and their participation in official rallies, meetings and programmes does not mean that they have joined the party.
"There is no legal bar against such extension of support or joining the government.
Sixteen MLAs were disqualified by Karnataka Speaker on the eve of no-trust motion voting against Yeddyurappa government.
"Hence, such extension of support or joining the government as minister by an Independent does not by itself mean that he has joined the political party which formed the government," Justice Kabir writing the judgement said.
The apex court passed the detailed judgement as a sequel to its May 13, 2011 order wherein it had quashed the Karnataka Assembly Speaker's decision to disqualify 16 MLAs ahead of the no confidence motion last year, which had ensured survival of the then BS Yeddyurappa government.
Eleven rebel BJP MLAs and five Independents were disqualified by the Speaker on the eve of the voting on a no-trust motion against Yeddyurappa's government in October 2010.
The MLAs were disqualified as it was apprehended that they would support the no-trust motion against the government during the voting.