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K'taka drama: Did the Speaker get it right?


Rupashree Nanda,CNN-IBN
Oct 11, 2010 at 10:07pm IST

New Delhi: So was the speaker constitutionally correct in disqualifying the rebel MLA's - especially the independents? The verdict on the matter will soon be given by the Karnataka High Court. But constitutional experts seem to be divided on the legalities of the controversial political decision.

Did Karnataka Assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah act in accordance with the Constitution by disqualifying 11 BJP rebels and 5 independents before the trust vote began?

"He has the right under the 10th schedule of the Constitution if they have indulged in anti-party activity,” said Subhash Kashyap, constitutional expert.

“Yes, if they have demonstrated that they no longer belong to the party… but the Speaker must have given them adequate time to respond," opined constitutional expert Rakesh Diwedi.

The tenth schedule of the Constitution specifies the conditions under which an assembly speaker can act against a legislator if a member voluntarily gives up membership of his political party, or if his action on the floor of the house is contrary to the whip issued by his party.

In Karnataka, none of the BJP rebels has given up his party membership. Also can the speaker use the same yardstick for independents too?

"There is a grey area here ... only if the independents have said that they will lose their independence or will join a party, “ said Kashyap.

Diwedi said, “I cannot think of any reason ... they do not owe their allegiance to the BJP...”

Constitutional experts feel that if members were unhappy with the Speaker’s decision, they could have gone to the court. But then even courts cannot undo a trust vote that has either been won or lost. So the question on people's minds is that by recommending President’s Rule was the Governor being faithful to the Constitution or the interests of his own party?

Experts say that the Governor's role will also come under the scanner because he wrote a letter a day before the trust vote asking the Speaker not to disqualify any of dissidents.

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