KG Bopaiah, appointed pro tem Karnataka Assembly speaker, was castigated by SC for disqualifying 16 MLAs in 2011

Kombarana Ganapathy Bopaiah was appointed pro tem speaker of the Karnataka Assembly by Governor Vajubhai Vala ahead of Saturday's floor test.

Image procured by DP Satish/CNN-News18

Image procured by DP Satish/CNN-News18

Congress immediately objected to the appointment of Bopaiah, a three-time BJP MLA. "The pro tem speaker, by convention, is the most senior MLA. We are asking for convention to be followed", Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said at a press conference.

The most senior MLA in the state Assembly is Ravi Deshpande, but he was ignored.

File image of KG Bopaiah. News18

File image of KG Bopaiah. News18

Bopaiah earlier served as Speaker of the Karnataka Assembly from 2009 to 2013.

In May 2011, the Supreme Court quashed the then speaker Bopaiah's decision to disqualify 16 MLAs ahead of the no-confidence motion in October 2010 which ensured survival of the then Yeddyurappa government.

Eleven rebel BJP MLAs and five Independent ones were disqualified by Bopaiah on the eve of the voting on a no-trust motion against the then chief minister Yeddyurappa. The 16 MLAs had withdrawn their support to the government on 6 October, 2010, and were suspended on 11 October, 2010.

A bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir, while quashing the speaker’s decision, said basic constitutional values and principles of natural justice were not observed by Bopaiah in disqualifying the 11 rebel BJP and five Independent legislators.

"The procedure adopted by the speaker seems to indicate 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 and the other Independent MLAs stood disqualified prior to the date on which the floor test was to be held," the Supreme Court said in its order.

"Unless it was to ensure that the trust vote did not go against the chief minister, there was no conceivable reason for the speaker to have taken up the disqualification application in such a great hurry", the apex court said.

The court passed the order while setting aside the Karnataka High Court order upholding the speaker’s decision, aggrieved by which the disqualified legislators had moved the apex court.

The apex court ruling came on an appeal by four of the 11 disqualified BJP MLAs in Karnataka against the high court order upholding the speaker’s decision.

In their appeal, the MLAs contended that their disqualification raised substantial questions of constitutional and administrative laws of public importance having serious implications for the democratic representative government and involving an interpretation of the provisions of the Tenth Schedule and the rules made there-under.

The legislators submitted that they made a categorical statement in their replies to the show-cause notice issued by the speaker before their suspension that they had no intention at all to leave BJP or the membership of its legislature party and that their letter to the governor was aimed at “cleansing the image of the party by getting rid of Yeddyurappa as chief minister”.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: May 18, 2018 16:49:25 IST

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