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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. 54. We cannot lose sight of the fact that although the same allegations as had been made by Shri Yeddyurappa against the disqualified B.J.P. MLAs, were made also against Shri M.P. Renukacharya and Shri Narasimha Nayak, whose retraction was accepted by the Speaker, despite the view expressed by him that upon submitting the letter withdrawing support to the B.J.P. Government led by Shri B.S. Yeddyurappa, all the MLAs stood immediately disqualified under paragraph 2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution, the said two legislators were not disqualified and they were allowed to participate in the Confidence Vote, for reasons which are obvious. 62 55. Therefore, we hold that the impugned order of the Speaker is vitiated by mala fides. 56. On the question of justiciability of the Speaker’s order on account of the expression of finality in paragraph 2 of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution, it is now well-settled that such finality did not bar the jurisdiction of the superior Courts under Articles 32, 226 and 136 of the Constitution to judicially review the order of the Speaker. Under paragraph 2 of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution, the Speaker discharges quasi-judicial functions, which makes an order passed by him in such capacity, subject to judicial review. 57. We are, therefore, unable to sustain the decision of the Speaker, as affirmed by the High Court on all counts, and we, accordingly, allow the appeals and set aside the orders passed by the 63 Speaker on 11th October, 2010 and by the Full Bench of the High Court on 14th February, 2011. 58. There will, however, be no order as to costs.

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REPORTABLE

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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NOS.4510-4514 OF 2011

D. Sudhakar & Ors.                        … Appellants

Vs.

D.N. Jeevaraju & Ors.                     … Respondents

WITH

CIVIL APPEAL NOS.4517-4521 OF 2011

J U D G M E N T

ALTAMAS KABIR, J.

1.    The   operative   portion   of   this   judgment   was

pronounced on 13th  May, 2011.   The full text of the

judgment is now being pronounced.

2

2.    Civil Appeal Nos. 4510-4514 of 2011 arising out

of SLP(C) Nos. 5966-5970 of 2011 are filed by five

Independent   Members   of   the   Karnataka   Legislative

Assembly   against   a   judgment   of   the   Full   Bench   of

the   Karnataka   High   Court   upholding   an   order   passed

by   the   Speaker   of   the   Karnataka   Legislative

Assembly disqualifying them under Paragraph 2(2) of

Tenth  Schedule  of  the  Constitution  of  India  on  the

ground   that   they   had   joined   the   Bharatiya   Janata

Party (BJP) after their election to the Legislative

Assembly   as   Independent   candidates.   The   said   order

of   disqualification   was   passed   by   the   Speaker   on

Disqualification   Application   No.2   of   2010   filed   by

Shri   D.N.   Jeevaraju,   Chief   Whip,   BJP,   Karnataka

Legislative   Assembly   and   Shri   C.T.   Revi,   Member   of

the   Karnataka   Legislative   Assembly.   Civil   Appeal

Nos.   4517-4521   of   2011   arising   out   of   SLP(C)   Nos.

5995-5999   of   2011   are   filed   by   the   very   same   five

Independent   Members   of   the   Karnataka   Legislative

Assembly   challenging   the   very   same   judgment   of   the

3

Full   Bench   of   the   Karnataka   High   Court   upholding

the   order   passed   by   the   Speaker   of   the   Karnataka

Legislative   Assembly   disqualifying   them   under

Paragraph            2(2)         of         Tenth            Schedule         of         the

Constitution of India. The said order was passed by

the   Speaker   on   Disqualification   Application   Nos.   3

to   7   of   2010   filed   by   the   voters   from   the

constituencies   represented   by   the   five   MLAs.   Since

the   Speaker   of   the   Karnataka   Legislative   Assembly

had   passed   a   Common   Order   dated   10th  October,   2010

on   Disqualification   Application   Nos.   2   to   7   of

2010,   the   impugned   judgment   of   the   Full   Bench   of

the   High   Court   also   was   a   Common   Order   passed   in

Writ   Petition   Nos.   32674-32678/2010   and   Writ

Petition Nos. 33998-34002/2010. Therefore the basic

dispute   in   these   Civil   Appeals   relates   to   the

validity of the order of disqualification passed by

the   Speaker   of   the   Karnataka   Legislative   Assembly

against         the          Appellants                 on         Disqualification

Application Nos. 2 to 7 of 2010.

4

3.    The   Appellants   herein   were   elected   to   the

Thirteenth         Karnataka            Legislative               Assembly         as

independent   candidates   in   the   elections   held   in

May, 2008.  On 30th May, 2008, they were sworn in as

Ministers   in   the   Cabinet   of   the   government   headed

by   Shri   B.S.   Yeddyurappa,   who   was   elected   as   the

leader   of   the   B.J.P.   Legislature   Party   and   was

sworn   in   as   the   Chief   Minister   of   the   State   of

Karnataka.     On   6th  October,   2010,   the   Appellants

submitted   separate   letters   to   the   Governor   of

Karnataka   stating   that   having   become   disillusioned

with   the   functioning   of   the   Government   headed   by

Shri   B.S.   Yeddyurappa,   in   which   there   was

widespread corruption and nepotism, a situation had

arisen  where  the  governance  of  the  State  could  not

be  carried  on  in  accordance  with  the  provisions  of

the   Constitution   of   India.     The   Appellants   also

indicated          that         Shri         B.S.         Yeddyurappa         had,

therefore, forfeited his right to continue as Chief

Minister   having   lost   the   confidence   of   the   people

5

and in the interest of the State and the people of

Karnataka,   they   were   expressing   their   lack   of

confidence   in   the   Government   headed   by   Shri   B.S.

Yeddyurappa   and   as   such   they   were   withdrawing

support   to   the   Government   headed   by   him   as   the

Chief Minister.  The Governor was also requested to

intervene   and   institute   the   constitutional   process

as   constitutional   head   of   the   State.     On   the   same

day,   on   the   basis   of   the   letters   written   by   the

Appellants   and   others,   the   Governor   of   Karnataka

asked   the   Chief   Minister   to   prove   his   majority   on

the Floor of the House by 12th October, 2010.

4.    On the very next day i.e. on 7th  October, 2010,

the   Respondent   Nos.1   and   3,   namely,   Shri   D.N.

Jeevaraju   and   Shri   C.T.   Ravi,   the   Chief   Whip   and

the   General   Secretary   of   the   Bharatiya   Janata

Party,   respectively,   filed   Complaint   No.2   of   2010

dated   6th  October,   2010   with   the   Speaker   of   the

Karnataka   Legislative   Assembly   under   Rule   6   of   the

6

Karnataka Legislative Assembly (Disqualification of

Members   on   Ground   of   Defection)   Rules,   1986,

hereinafter   referred   to   as   the   “Disqualification

Rules”, to declare that the Appellants had incurred

disqualification   on   the   ground   of   defection   as

contained         in         the         Tenth         Schedule               to         the

Constitution.            On         the         basis         of         the             said

Disqualification   Application,   on   8th  October,   2010

the   Speaker   issued   Show-Cause   Notices   to   the

Appellants   informing   them   of   the   Disqualification

Application   filed   by   the   Chief   Whip   of   the

Bharatiya   Janata   Party   and   the   General   Secretary

thereof, indicating that despite having got elected

as   independent   candidates,   they   became   members   of

the   B.J.P.   Legislature   Party   and   also   became

Ministers   and   thereby   they   violated   Paragraph   2(2)

of   the   Tenth   Schedule   to   the   Constitution.   The

Appellants   were   informed   that   they   had   acted   in

violation   of   paragraph   2(2)   of   the   Tenth   Schedule

of   the   Constitution   of   India   and   it   disqualified

7

them from continuing as Members of the Legislature.

The   Appellants   were   given   time   till   5.00   p.m.   on

10th  October,   2010,   to   submit   their   objections,   if

any,   to   the   Disqualification   Application   either   in

writing or presenting themselves in person, failing

which   it   would   be   presumed   that   they   had   no

explanation   to   offer   and   further   action   would

thereafter   be   taken  ex-parte  in   accordance   with

law.        In   the   meanwhile   on   9th     October,   2010,

Disqualification   Application   Nos.3   to   7   were   filed

by   some   voters   against   the   Appellants   and   show-

cause   notices   were   issued   by   the   Speaker   on   the

same   day   requiring   the   Appellants   to   submit   their

explanation before 5.00 p.m. on 10th October, 2010.

5.    Having   come   to   know   about   the   show-cause

notices   from   the   media,   the   Appellants   through   an

Advocate   submitted   a   letter   to   the   Speaker   on   9th

October,   2010,   indicating   that   they   had   come   to

learn   from   the   media   that   the   show-cause   notices

8

had   been   issued   to   them   as   per   the   orders   of   the

Speaker.     In   the   said   letter   it   was   categorically

stated   that   the   procedural   requirements   of   Rule   7

of the Disqualification Rules had not been complied

with   as   copies   of   the   Petition   and   annexures   were

not   supplied   to   the   Appellants   and   a   period   of   7

days   to   submit   the   reply   was   not   given   to   them.   A

specific  request  was  made  to  the  Speaker  to  supply

the said documents and to grant a period of 7 days

to submit the reply.  Though the documents were not

supplied,   the   Appellants   though   their   Advocate

submitted   an   interim   reply   on   10th  October,   2010,

during  the  proceedings  before  the  Speaker.    It  was

specifically   stated   in   the   reply   that   it   was

submitted   as   an   interim   reply   without   prejudice   to

and   by   way   of   abundant   caution   and   reserving   the

right of the Appellants to submit exhaustive reply.

6.    The Appellants further submitted in the interim

reply that the notice was in clear violation of the

9

Disqualification   Rules,   1986,   and   especially   Rules

6   and   7   thereof.     It   was   mentioned   that   Rule   7(3)

requires   copies   of   the   petition   and   annexures

thereto   to   be   forwarded   along   with   the   show-cause

notice.     The   notice   which   was   pasted   on   the   doors

of   the   MLA   quarters   in   the   MLA   hostels   at

Bangalore,   which   were   locked   and   used   by   the

legislators   only   when   the   House   was   in   session,

called   upon   the   Appellants   to   reply   to   the   notice

by   5.00   p.m.   on   10th  October,   2010,   which   was   in

complete violation of Rule 7 of the above-mentioned

Rules   which   laid   down   a   mandatory   procedure   for

dealing   with   the   petition   seeking   disqualification

under the Rules. In fact, even the time to reply to

the  notices  was  reduced  to  the  severe  prejudice  to

the   Appellants.   It   was   pointed   out   that   Rule   7

requires that the Appellants should have been given

7 days’ time to reply or within such further period

as the Speaker may for sufficient cause allow.   It

was  contended  that  under  the  said  Rule  the  Speaker

10

could only extend the time by a further period of 7

days, but could not curtail the same from 7 days to

3   days.   It   was   the   categorical   case   of   the

Appellants that the minimum notice period of 7 days

was a mandatory requirement of the basic principles

of   natural   justice   in   order   to   enable   a   MLA   to

effectively   reply   to   the   Show-Cause   Notice   issued

to   him   seeking   his   disqualification   from   the

Legislative   Assembly.     It   was   mentioned   in   the

reply   to   the   Show-Cause   Notice   that   issuance   of

such   Show-Cause   Notice   within   a   truncated   period

was   an   abuse   and   misuse   of   the   constitutional

provisions   for   the   purpose   of   achieving   the

unconstitutional object of disqualifying sufficient

number   of   Members   of   the   Assembly   from   the

membership   of   the   House   in   order   to   prevent   them

from   participating   in   the   Vote   of   Trust   scheduled

to be taken by Shri B.S. Yeddiyurappa on the Floor

of   the   House   at   11   a.m.   on   11th  October,   2010.     It

was   contended   that   the   Show-Cause   Notice   was  ex-

11

facie  unconstitutional   and   illegal,   besides   being

motivated and malafide and devoid of jurisdiction.

7.         In addition to the above, it was also sought to

be   explained   that   it   was   not   the   intention   of   the

Appellants   to   withdraw   support   to   the   government

formed   by   the   B.J.P.,   but   only   to   the   Government

headed by Shri Yeddiyurappa.  It was contended that

withdrawal of support from the Government headed by

Shri   B.S.   Yeddiyurappa   as   the   Chief   Minister   of

Karnataka,   did   not   fall   within   the   scope   and

purview   of   the   Tenth   Schedule   to   the   Constitution

of         India.         In         the         reply,         the         Appellants

categorically   denied   the   allegation   that   they   had

joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.  It was asserted

that   they   remained   independents   and   they   had   not

joined   any   political   party   including   Bharatiya

Janata Party.  It was claimed that they were always

treated as independents only. It was urged that the

conduct   of   the   Appellants   did   not   fall   within   the

12

meaning  of  “defection”  or  within  the  scope  of  para

2(2) of the Tenth Schedule of Constitution of India

or the Scheme and object thereof.   However, on 10th

October,   2010   itself,   the   Speaker   passed   an   order

“disqualifying   the   Appellants   from   the   post   of   MLA

for   violation   of   Para   2   of   the   Tenth   Schedule   of

the   Constitution   of   India   with   immediate   effect.”

The   said   disqualification   is   the   subject   matter   of

this litigation.

8.    At this juncture, it is necessary to take note

of   the   fact   that   13   MLAs,   belonging   to   the

Bharatiya   Janata   Party,   had   also   withdrawn   their

support   to   the   Government   led   by   Shri   B.S.

Yeddyurappa   and   had   made   the   same   request   to   the

Governor,   as   had   been   made   by   the   Appellants

herein,   for   initiating   the   constitutional   process

in   the   wake   of   their   withdrawal   of   support   to   the

Government   led   by   Shri   B.S.   Yeddyurappa.   This   had

resulted         in         the         filing         of         Disqualification

13

Application   No.1   by   Shri   Yeddyurappa   against   the

said   MLAs   and   ultimately   in   their   disqualification

from   the   membership   of   the   House.         The   Civil

Appeals challenging their disqualification has been

heard by this Court and judgment has been reserved.

Learned counsel for the Appellants submits that the

same   issues   as   were   involved   in   the   earlier   cases

are  also  involved  in  the  present  case,  except  that

while in the case involving the 13 B.J.P. MLAs, the

allegation   made   against   them   was   that   they   had

voluntarily left the Bharatiya Janata Party, in the

present   case   the   allegation   against   the   Appellants

is   that   having   got   elected   as   independent

candidates   they   had   joined   the   Bharatiya   Janata

Party by extending support to Shri B.S. Yeddyurappa

and   by   joining   his   Ministry   as   Cabinet   Ministers.

The same grievances as were raised by the 11 B.J.P.

MLAs  who  were  disqualified  have  been  raised  by  the

Appellants   herein.        It   has   been   reiterated   on

behalf   of   the   Appellants   that   the   very   basic

14

requirements   of   natural   justice   and   administrative

fair   play   had   been   denied   to   them.     On   the   other

hand, not only were they not served with notice of

the disqualification proceedings, but they were not

even   given   sufficient   time   to   deal   with   the

allegations   made   against   them.     According   to   the

Appellants, the proceedings before the Speaker, who

had   acted   in   hot   haste   in   disqualifying   the

Appellants  before  the  Vote  of  Confidence  was  to  be

taken   by   Shri   B.S.   Yeddyurappa,   had   been   vitiated

as   a   result   of   such   conduct   on   the   part   of   the

Speaker.

9.    Appearing   in   support   of   the   Civil   Appeals

arising   out   of   SLP(C)   Nos.5966-5970   of   2011,   Mr.

P.P.   Rao,   learned   Senior   Advocate,   contended   that

by   not   allowing   the   Appellants   sufficient   time   to

even   reply   to   the   Show-Cause   Notices   issued   to

them,   in   violation   of   Rule   7   of   the   Karnataka

Legislative   Assembly   (Disqualification   of   Members

15

on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1986, the Appellants

had been deprived of a valuable opportunity to meet

the   allegations,   although   their   membership   of   the

House   depended   on   a   decision   on   the   said

allegations   and   their   response   thereto.     Mr.   Rao

also   submitted   that   apart   from   being   denied   a

proper hearing in terms of the statutory rules, the

High         Court         had         erroneously         interpreted         the

provisions   of   paragraph   2(2)   of   the   Tenth   Schedule

to   the   Constitution   of   India   in   holding   that   the

Appellants   had   joined   the   Bharatiya   Janata   Party,

as  alleged  by  the  complainants.    Mr.  Rao  submitted

that   it   had   been   alleged   that   the   Appellants   had

joined the Bharatiya Janata Party either when prior

to   the   formation   of   the   Ministry   they   had   given

individual   letters   of   support   to   Shri   Yeddyurappa

as   the   leader   of   the   B.J.P.   Legislature   Party,   or

when   they   had   joined   the   Cabinet   as   Ministers   in

the B.J.P. Government led by Shri B.S. Yeddyurappa.

16

10.    Mr. Rao then urged that the High Court had also

misconstrued   the   concept   of   whips   being   issued   to

ensure   compliance   by   Members   of   a   particular

political   party,   who   were   also   Members   of   the

Legislature   Party   of   the   said   political   party.

Mr. Rao urged that such whip had been issued to the

Appellants,   who   as   Members   of   the   Government   may

have acted in terms thereof, but that did not mean

that   the   Appellants   had   formally   joined   the

Bharatiya   Janata   Party,   as   had   been   concluded   by

the Speaker.

11.    Mr. Rao contended that neither the Speaker nor

the High Court had addressed these issues correctly

in   relation   to   the   evidence   available   before   him,

as   had   been   observed   by   the   Constitution   Bench   in

Rajendra  Singh  Rana  &  Ors.  Vs.  Swami  Prasad  Maurya

& Ors.  [(2007) 4 SCC 270].   Mr. Rao submitted that

events   subsequent   to   the   date   on   which   an

independent   Member   joins   a   political   party   is   not

17

material   for   a   decision   as   to   whether   the

particular   Member   had,   in   fact,   joined   the

political   party   or   not.     Mr.   Rao   also   urged   that

neither the decision in the case of Dr. Mahachandra

Prasad   Singh      Vs.     Chairman,   Bihar   Legislative

Council & Ors. [(2004) 8 SCC 747], nor the decision

in   the   case   of  Jagjit   Singh  Vs.  State   of   Haryana

[(2006) 11 SCC 1], had any application to the facts

of   this   case,   since   in   the   said   cases   what   was

sought   to   be   explained   by   this   Court   is   that   the

Speaker   could   not   give   a   finding   regarding

disqualification on the basis of conduct subsequent

to  the  date  on  which  a  M.L.A.  becomes  disqualified

from   being   a   Member   of   the   House.     It   was   also

observed   that   when   the   view   taken   by   the   Tribunal

is   a   reasonable   one,   the   Court   would   be   slow   to

strike   down   the   view   regarding   disqualification   on

the   ground   that   another   view   was   better.     Mr.   Rao

urged   that   in   the   instant   case,   reliance   by   the

Speaker   on   the   decision   of   this   Court   in   the   case

18

of G. Vishwanath Vs. Speaker [(1996) 3 SCC 353], is

not   of   much   assistance   to   the   Respondents,   because

even   from   the   conduct   of   the   Appellants,   it   could

not   be   said   that   they   had   joined   the   B.J.P.

Legislature   Party.     Mr.   Rao   urged   that   the   fact

that   the   Appellants   had   attended   meetings   of   the

B.J.P.  Legislature  Party  was  of  little  help  to  the

Respondents since in the Attendance Register of the

meetings they had been shown as independent Members

and a separate group under the heading “Independent

Co-Members”.

12.    Mr.   Rao   urged   that   the   Appellants   had   always

been   treated   as   a   separate   group   from   the   B.J.P.

Legislature Party and it is only in connection with

this   case   that   the   Respondents   had   attempted   to

show   that   the   Appellants   had   joined   the   Bharatiya

Janata   Party   and   by   withdrawing   support   from   the

B.J.P.   Government   led   by   Shri   B.S.   Yeddyurappa,

19

they   had   incurred   disqualification   under   paragraph

2(2) of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution.

13.    Mr. Rao also contended that the Whip issued by

the  Chief  Whip  of  the  B.J.P.  Legislature  Party  did

not  form  part  of  the  documents  produced  before  the

Speaker,   and,   in   any   event,   no   Whip   was   served   on

the   Appellants   nor   had   they   signed   such   a   Whip.

Therefore,   the   allegation   that   they   had   acted   in

accordance   with   such   Whip   did   not   and   could   not

arise   and   the   finding   of   the   Speaker   to   the

contrary,   was   perverse.     Mr.   Rao   added   that   the

Whips   which   have   been   subsequently   brought   on

record   in   W.P.(C)Nos.32674-32678   of   2010,   reveal

that   when   the   Whips   were   addressed   to   the   ruling

party   Members,   including   the   Ministers,   they   were

addressed   as   Members   of   the   Party,   whereas   the

remaining   five   Whips   were   addressed   to   the

Appellants as Hon’ble Ministers.

20

14.    Mr. Rao also submitted that in the Whips issued

to   the   Appellants   nowhere   had   it   been   indicated

that   they   had   joined   the   Bharatiya   Janata   Party.

Mr.   Rao   urged   that   the   positive   case   made   out   by

the         Respondents                in          the              application               for

disqualification was that the Appellants had joined

the   B.J.P.   before   they   were   sworn   in   as   Ministers

of Cabinet rank on 30th May, 2008, and not that they

joined   the   B.J.P.   later   before   the   issuance   of

Whips on 29th  December, 2009.   Mr. Rao repeated his

earlier   contention   that   the   question   before   the

Speaker             for         consideration                  was            whether         the

Appellants had joined the B.J.P. before their being

sworn   in   on   30th             May,   2008,   or   not.                         It   was

submitted   that   it   was   beyond   the   Speaker’s

jurisdiction   to   decide   any   matter   other   than   what

had         been         indicated           in         the              Disqualification

Application.

21

15.    On the question of scope of judicial review of

the   Speaker’s   order,   Mr.   Rao   submitted   that

although   reliance   had   been   placed   on   paragraph   109

of   the   decision   of   this   Court   in  Kihoto   Hollohan

Vs.  Zachillhu  [(1992)   Supp.2   SCC   651],   wherein,   it

was   held   that   judicial   review   of   the   order   of   the

Speaker should be confined to jurisdictional errors

only,   the   observations   contained   in   paragraph   103

of   the   judgment   had   not   been   noticed.     Mr.   Rao

submitted   that   in   the   said   paragraph,   it   had   been

clarified   that   the   finality   clause   in   paragraph   6

of  the  Tenth  Schedule  to  the  Constitution  does  not

completely   exclude   the   jurisdiction   of   the   Courts

under         Articles         136,         226         and         227         of         the

Constitution,   though,   it   does   have   the   effect   of

limiting   the   scope   of   the   Courts’   jurisdiction

under  the  said  provision.    It  was  further  observed

that   the   principle   applied   by   the   courts   is   that

inspite   of   a   finality   clause   it   is   always   open   to

the   High   Court   or   the   Supreme   Court   to   examine

22

whether  the  action  of  the  authority  is  ultra  vires

the powers conferred on it or whether the power so

exercised   was   in   contravention   of   a   mandatory

provision of law.   Mr. Rao urged that the judgment

in Kihoto Hollohan’s case (supra) could not be read

piecemeal, but would have to be read as a whole.

16.    Mr. Rao submitted that in the instant case, the

Speaker’s   order   had   been   made   in   violation   of

paragraph 2(2) of the Tenth Schedule by erroneously

equating   the   expression   “Political   Party”   with   the

Government   of   the   State.     Mr.   Rao   also   submitted

that   the   order   of   the   Speaker   had   been   passed   in

disregard   of   the   relevant   statutory   Rules,   namely,

the   Karnataka   Disqualification   Rules   and   without

reconsidering   the   materials   available   with   the

Speaker under the aforesaid Rules.

17.    Mr.   Rao   then   urged   that   the   Speaker   has   also

erred in entertaining the applications of voters in

violation of Rule 6 of the aforesaid Rules and also

23

Rule   7(3)   which   require   the   Speaker   to   give   a

minimum of 7 days’ time to reply to the show-cause

notice   issued   by   him.     Mr.   Rao   submitted   that   the

order   was   also   liable   to   be   quashed   on   the   ground

of   violation   of   the   principles   of   natural   justice

by   not   giving   the   Appellants   a   reasonable

opportunity to present their case effectively.

18.    Mr. Rao lastly submitted that the order of the

Speaker   was   perverse   and   was   tailored   to   suit   the

Government led by Shri B.S. Yeddyurappa in the Vote

of Confidence that was to follow the day after the

decision   had   been   pronounced   by   the   Speaker.     Mr.

Rao   also   repeated   his   earlier   submissions   that   the

Speaker  had  proceeded  in  the  matter  in  great  haste

to meet the aforesaid deadline.

19.    Mr. Rao submitted that the Speaker had acted in

a  mala   fide  manner   in   order   to   bail   out   the   Chief

Minister and to save his own Chair by not referring

the   case   to   the   Committee   of   Privileges   having

24

regard   to   the   allegations   of   bias   made   by   the

Appellants   in   their   replies   to   the   Show-Cause

Notices   and   deciding   the   case   himself,   while

continuing   to   be   a   Member   of   the   Bharatiya   Janata

Party while occupying the Chair of the Speaker.

20.    On         the         question          as         to         whether         the

Disqualification Rules were mandatory or directory,

Mr. Rao submitted that the decision in Ravi S. Naik

Vs. Union of India [(1994) Suppl.2 SCC 641] was per

incuriam  as it had not adverted to the decision of

the   Constitution   Bench   in  Kihoto   Hollohan’s   case

(supra),   wherein   it   had   been   held   that   the

Speaker’s   decision   while   exercising   power   under

paragraph   6(1)   of   the   Tenth   Schedule   to   the

Constitution   did   not   enjoy   the   immunity   under

Articles  122  and  212  from  judicial  scrutiny  as  had

also   been   pointed   out   by   K.T.   Thomas,   J.   in

Mayawati  Vs.  Markandeya   Chand  [(1998)   7   SCC   517].

Mr. Rao urged that in any event, the view expressed

25

in  Ravi   S.   Naik’s   case   (supra)   was   no   longer   good

law   after   the   subsequent   Constitution   Bench

decision   in  Rajendra   Singh   Rana’s   case   (supra),

wherein it has been laid down that the Speaker was

expected to follow the Rules framed under the Tenth

Schedule which had been approved by the Legislative

Assembly.     Mr.   Rao   urged   that   the   Speaker   had   all

throughout   treated   the   Appellants   as   independent

Members as would be evident from the debates of the

Assembly.

21.    Mr.   Rao   then   submitted   that   the   circumstances

leading   to   the   disqualification   of   the   Appellants

was   quite   obviously   stage-managed   in   order   to   help

the   Chief   Minister   to   survive   the   Confidence   Vote

on   11th  October,   2010,   by   any   means   and   the   same

will  be  evident  from  the  affidavits  filed  later  by

the         voters         who         had          filed         Disqualification

Petitions,   which   exposed   the   involvement   of   the

Speaker   and   his   Office   as   well   as   the   Political

26

Advisor   to   the   Chief   Minister   in   inducing   them   to

sign such applications.  Mr. Rao submitted that the

decision   of   the   Speaker   having   been   taken   in

violation   of   paragraph   2(2)   of   the   Tenth   Schedule,

Rules   3,   4,   5,   6   and   7(3)   of   the   Karnataka

Legislative   Assembly   (Disqualification   of   Members

on   Ground   of   Defection)   Rules,   1986,   and   the

principles   of   natural   justice,   was   perverse   and

mala   fide  and   was   not   sustainable   either   on   facts

or law.

22.    Appearing   for   the   Appellants   in   the   Civil

Appeals   arising   out   of   SLP   (C)   Nos.5995-5999   of

2011,   Mr.   K.K.   Venugopal,   learned   Senior   Advocate,

reiterated  the  submissions  made  by  Mr.  P.P.  Rao  in

the  other  set  of  appeals.    Mr.  Venugopal  submitted

that   merely   because   the   Appellants   had   joined   the

Council of Ministers in the Yeddyurappa Government,

it could not be contended that they had joined the

Bharatiya   Janata   Party.     Mr.   Venugopal   submitted

27

that   in   the   past   there   had   been   several   instances

where   Members   elected   as   independents   to   the   Lok

Sabha   had   served   in   the   Governments   formed   by

Political   Parties   but   had   retained   their   status   as

independent   Members   of   the   House.     Mr.   Venugopal

referred   to   the   two   instances   when   Mrs.   Maneka

Gandhi   was   elected   to   the   Lok   Sabha   as   an

independent   Member   from   Pilibhit   in   Uttar   Pradesh

and   had   served   as   Minister   at   the   Centre   in   the

Governments   led   by   the   Bharatiya   Janata   Party.

Similarly,   Shri   Biswanath   Das,   Shri   S.F.   Khonglam

and   Shri   Madhu   Koda,   who   were   all   independent

legislators,   became   Chief   Ministers   of   the   States

of Orissa, Meghalaya and Jharkhand.

23.    Mr. Venugopal submitted that if by joining the

Yeddyurappa Ministry, the Appellants had shed their

independent   status   and   had   become   Members   of   the

Bharatiya         Janata         Party,         then         they         stood

disqualified   from   the   membership   of   the   House   at

28

that stage itself.   Such a stand had not, however,

been   taken   by   the   complainants   or   even   the

opposition   parties,   till   the   Governor   directed   a

Vote   of   Confidence   to   be   held   on   12.10.2010.     Mr.

Venugopal   submitted   that   the   said   position   would

make it very clear that the Appellants continued to

enjoy   an   independent   status,   although,   they   had

extended their support to the B.J.P. Government led

by   Shri   Yeddyurappa   and   had   also   joined   the

Ministry as Cabinet Ministers.

24.    Mr.         Venugopal         also         repeated         Mr.         Rao’s

submissions   that   even   at   the   B.J.P.   Legislature

Party   meetings   the   independent   status   of   the

Appellants had been duly recognized and in the said

meetings   they   had   been   shown   not   as   a   part   of   the

Bharatiya   Janata   Party,   but   as   a   separate   entity

with separate serial numbers.  It was further urged

that it could not also be presumed that by joining

the   rallies   of   the   Bharatiya   Janata   Party,   the

29

Appellants had joined the Party and had, therefore,

laid themselves open to disqualification as Members

of  the  House  under  the  provisions  of  the  paragraph

2(2) of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution.

25.   Mr.   Venugopal   lastly   submitted   that   the

Appellants  had  denied  receipt  of  the  Whips  said  to

have   been   issued   to   them   by   the   Chief   Whip   of   the

B.J.P.   Legislature   Party   or   having   acted   in

accordance therewith.  Mr. Venugopal submitted that

by   no   stretch   of   imagination   could   it   be   assumed

that   the   Appellants   by   their   aforesaid   acts   had

joined   the   Bharatiya   Janata   Party   or   had   even

intended   to   do   so.     Mr.   Venugopal   submitted   that

the impugned order of the Speaker was motivated and

made   with   the   sole   intention   of   disqualifying   them

from   participating   in   the   Vote   of   Confidence   which

was to be held on 11th October, 2010.

26.    Appearing   for   the   Respondent   No.1   Shri   D.N.

Jeevaraju   and   others   in   the   Civil   Appeals   arising

30

out of the Special Leave Petitions filed by Shri D.

Sudhakar   and   others,   Mr.   Satpal   Jain,   learned

Senior Advocate, submitted that one single incident

cannot   always   be   a   factor   to   determine   as   to

whether   an   independent   Member   had   joined   a

Political Party or not and that there was no bar in

taking   cognizance   of   subsequent   events   in   order   to

arrive   at   such   a   conclusion.       It   was   submitted

that   even   if   it   be   held   that   the   Appellants   had

joined   the   Bharatiya   Janata   Party   by   joining   the

Ministry,   the   Speaker   was   always   entitled   to

consider   the   subsequent   conduct   of   the   Appellants

for purposes of corroboration of the earlier facts.

Mr. Jain submitted that paragraph 2(2) of the Tenth

Schedule   to   the   Constitution   makes   it   absolutely

clear   that   on   the   joining   of   a   Political   Party   an

independent   stands   disqualified,   but   a   declaration

to that effect could be made at a later stage.

31

27.    Mr.   Jain   reiterated   the   stand   which   had   been

taken   on   behalf   of   the   Respondent   No.1   before   the

Speaker that the Whip which had been issued by the

Chief   Whip   was   also   meant   for   the   Appellants   and

had   been   served   on   them   and   they   had   also   acted

according to the said Whip.  It was urged that this

was   not   a   case   of   support   being   rendered   to   the

B.J.P.   Government   led   by   Shri   Yeddyurappa,   either

from   inside   or   from   the   outside,   but   this   was   a

case   where   the   Appellants   had   wilfully   shed   their

independent   status   and   had   become   Members   of   the

ruling   Bharatiya   Janata   Party   and   by   such   conduct

they  stood  disqualified  as  Members  of  the  House  by

virtue   of   paragraph   2(2)   of   the   Tenth   Schedule   to

the Constitution.

28.    On   the   allegation   with   regard   to   the  mala

fides,  Mr.  Jain  submitted  that  the  same  would  have

to  be  considered  in  the  light  of  the  circumstances

in   which   the   order   of   the   Speaker   came   to   be

32

passed.  It  was  submitted  that  once  the  question  of

disqualification   of   the   Appellants   was   brought   to

his   notice   before   the   Vote   of   Confidence   was   to

take   place,   it   became   the   constitutional   duty   of

the   Speaker   to   decide   the   same   before   the   Vote   of

Confidence   was   taken   in   order   to   ensure   that

persons   who   were   not   eligible   to   vote,   did   not

participate   in   the   Vote   of   Confidence   to   be   taken

on 11th October, 2010.

29.    Mr.   Jain   referred   to   and   relied   on   the

decisions   of   this   Court   in  Dr.   Mahachandra   Prasad

Singh’s case (supra)and Jagjit Singh’s case (supra)

in support of his contention that in order to incur

disqualification   under   paragraph   2(2)   of   the   Tenth

Schedule   to   the   Constitution,   it   was   not   always

necessary   that   a   written   communication   would   have

to be made to the Party in that regard.

30.  Mr. Jain also contended that in the translated

copy of the Whip which had been issued by the Chief

33

Whip   of   the   B.J.P.   Legislature   Party,   the   very

vital         words         describing         the         Appellants         as

Legislators   of   the   Ruling   Party   had   been   omitted.

Mr.   Jain   submitted   that   this   fact   had   not   been

noticed   by   the   High   Court,   particularly,   since   the

Whip   was   a   single-line   Whip.     Mr.   Jain   submitted

that the Whip had been issued to all Members of the

Bharatiya   Janata   Party   and   its   Ministers   in   the

same   fashion   as   it   had   been   issued   to   the

Appellants.     Mr.   Jain   submitted   that   the   order   of

the   Speaker   disqualifying   the   Appellants   from   the

Membership   of   the   House   did   not   call   for   any

interference   and   the   Appeals   were   liable   to   be

dismissed.

31.    While dealing with the submissions of Mr. P.P.

Rao   and   Mr.   Venugopal,   Mr.   Soli   J.   Sorabjee,

learned Senior advocate, who appeared for Shri C.T.

Ravi,   the   Respondent   No.3   in   the   Civil   Appeals

arising out of the Special Leave Petitions filed by

34

Shri   D.   Sudhakar   and   others,   submitted   that   the

provisions  of  paragraph  6  of  the  Tenth  Schedule  to

the   Constitution   made   it   quite   clear   that   the

decision   relating   to   disqualification   on   ground   of

defection   was   final   and,   accordingly,   the   scope   of

judicial   review   available   against   the   order   of   the

Speaker   in   exercise   of   powers   under   the   Tenth

Schedule to the Constitution was extremely limited,

as   had   been   indicated   in  Kihoto   Hollohan’s   case

(supra),         and         was         confined           and         limited         to

infirmities             based             on         (a)         violation              of

constitutional   mandate;   (b)  mala   fides;   (c)   non-

compliance   with   the   rules   of   natural   justice;   and

(d)   perversity.     Mr.   Sorabjee   submitted   that   the

Speaker’s   order   impugned   in   the   Appeals   did   not

suffer   from   any   of   the   above-mentioned   infirmities

and   hence   no   judicial   review   was   available   to   the

Appellants in the present case.

35

32.     Mr.   Sorabjee   also   relied   heavily   on   the

decision   of   this   Court   in  Ravi   S.   Naik’s   case

(supra)   and   also   in  Dr.   Mahachandra   Prasad   Singh’s

case   (supra),   where   the   Disqualification   Rules

framed   by   the   Speaker   in   exercise   of   the   power

conferred   under   paragraph   8   of   the   Tenth   Schedule

to   the   Constitution,   was   held   to   enjoy   a   status

which was subordinate to the Constitution and could

not   be   equated   with   the   provisions   of   the

Constitution.   They   could   not,   therefore,   be

regarded   as   constitutional   mandates   and   any

violation   of   the   Disqualification   Rules   did   not

also   afford   a   ground   for   judicial   review.     Mr.

Sorabjee   submitted   that   the   aforesaid   questions

were      no      longer     res      integra     and      had      been

authoritatively   settled   by   the   aforesaid   decision

of this Court.

33.     On   the   question   of  mala   fides,   Mr.   Sorabjee

submitted   that   as   had   been   observed   by   this   Court

36

in Sangramsinh P. Gaekwad Vs. Shantadevi P. Gaekwad

[(2005)   11   SCC   314],   a   series   of   repetitive   and

almost   abusive   allegations   against   the   Speaker   was

not   sufficient   to   support   a   charge   of  mala   fides,

especially   when   it   is   leveled   against   a   high

functionary   such   as   the   Speaker.     Mr.   Sorabjee

submitted that the law, as was also stated by this

Court   in  E.P.   Royappa  Vs.  State   of   Tamil   Nadu

[(1974)   4   SCC   3],   is   clear   that   the   burden   of

establishing  mala   fides  is   very   heavily   on   the

person   who   alleges   it,   since   the   allegations   of

mala  fides  are  often  more  easily  made  than  proved.

Mr. Sorabjee submitted that the Court could not and

should not uphold a plea of mala fides on the basis

of mere probabilities.

34.    On   the   question   of   undue   haste,   which   was   one

of the pillars of the submissions relating to  mala

fides,   Mr.   Sorabjee   submitted   that   the   Speaker   was

bound   to   a   schedule   which   had   been   set   by   the

37

Governor for holding the Vote of Confidence and he,

therefore, had no option but to reduce the time for

the Appellants to show cause as to why they should

not   be   disqualified   from   the   membership   of   the

House   to   a   period   which   was   less   than   7   days,   as

was stipulated under Rule 7 of the Disqualification

Rules.

35.    On   the   question   of   natural   justice,   Mr.

Sorabjee   once   again   referred   to   the   observations

made by this Court in  Ravi S. Naik’s case (supra),

wherein   it   was   observed   that   the   rules   of   natural

justice   were   not   immutable   but   flexible.             Mr.

Sorabjee   submitted   that   the   same   view   had   been

reiterated   in  Jagjit   Singh’s   case   (supra)   also.

Mr.   Sorabjee   contended   that   even   if   a   different

view   was   possible   from   the   view   which   had   been

taken   by   the   Speaker,   unless   the   decision   of   the

Speaker was shown to be wholly perverse or contrary

to   the   provisions   of   the   Constitution,   the   same

38

ought   not   to   be   discarded   and   substituted   for   a

different   view   which   this   Court   may   also   consider

to be possible.

36.    Mr.   Sorabjee   concluded   on   the   note   that   the

essence  of  being  an  independent  lies  in  his  acting

according   to   the   dictates   of   his   independent

conscience, untrammeled by the dictates of the Whip

of any political party. Accordingly, an independent

could   support   a   proposal   of   the   Government   or

oppose   it,   but   that   would   be   according   to   his

independent   conscience   and   if   such   an   independent

member joins as a Minister in the Government formed

by   a   political   party,   his   independence   is

compromised   and   as   indicated   in  Kihoto   Hollohan’s

case   (supra),   it   was   for   him   to   resign   his

membership   of   the   House   and   go   back   to   the

Electorate for a fresh mandate.

37.    While   adopting   Mr.   Satpal   Jain’s   and   Mr.

Sorabjee’s   submissions,   Mr.   Jaideep   Gupta,   learned

39

Senior   Advocate,   who   appeared   for   the   Respondent

Nos.4 and 5 in the Civil Appeals arising out of the

Special   Leave   Petitions   filed   by   Sri   Shivraj   S.

Thangadgi   and   others,   submitted   that   the   said

Respondents as voters of the Constituency which had

elected   the   Appellants   as   independents   were

aggrieved by the fact that the Appellants had acted

in   a   manner   which   was   contradictory   to   the   object

underlining the provisions in the Tenth Schedule to

the   Constitution,   namely,   to   curb   the   evil   of

political defections motivated by lure of office or

other   similar   considerations   which   endanger   the

foundation of our democracy.  Mr. Gupta also relied

on the decisions of this Court in Kihoto Hollohan’s

case   (supra)   and         G.   Vishwanath’s   case   (supra).

Although,   the   locus   standi   of   the   Respondent   Nos.4

and      5      to      maintain      a      complaint      under      the

Disqualification Rules was strongly disputed in the

absence of any mention of a voter having a right to

file  a  complaint,  Mr.  Gupta  submitted  that  even  if

40

no   rules   had   been   framed   by   the   Speaker   under

paragraph   8   of   the   Tenth   Schedule   to   the

Constitution, the Speaker was still vested with the

authority   to   take   action   against   an   independent

member   on   information   received   by   him.     Mr.   Gupta

also   relied   on   the   decisions   cited   by   Mr.   Satpal

Jain   and   Mr.   Soli   J.   Sorabjee   in   support   of   his

aforesaid   contention   and   submitted   that   the   order

of   the   Speaker   impugned   in   these   appeals   did   not

call   for   any   interference   and   the   Appeals   were,

therefore, liable to be dismissed.

38.    Appearing   for   Shri   B.S.   Yeddyurappa   in   these

appeals,         Mr.         P.S.         Narsimha,         learned         Senior

Advocate,   urged   that   the   allegations   made   against

Shri   Yeddyurappa   of   colluding   with   the   Speaker   to

obtain   an   order   of   disqualification   of   the

Appellants   before   the   date   scheduled   for   the   Vote

of   Confidence   in   the   House,   was   wholly   unjustified

and uncalled for.  Mr. Narsimha submitted that Shri

41

Yeddyurappa was duty bound to inform the Speaker of

any   incident   or   incidents   that   may   have   occurred

after   the   Members   had   been   elected   to   the   House,

which   would   disqualify   them   from   the   membership

thereof   and   Shri   Yeddyurappa   had,   therefore,   acted

as   part   of   the   duties   of   his   office   in   informing

the   Speaker   by   way   of   the   Disqualification

Application regarding the conduct of the Appellants

as well as some of the other MLAs belonging to the

Bharatiya Janata Party.

39.    Referring                    to         the         concept             of         collective

responsibility   of   the   Council   of   Ministers   as

envisaged   in   Article   75   of   the   Constitution,   Mr.

Narsimha   submitted   that   as   had   been   commented   upon

in   M.P.   Jain’s   “Indian   Constitutional   Law”,   (Sixth

Edition),   “a   notable   principle   underlying   the

working         of             Parliamentary                          Government               is         the

principle            of             collective                   responsibility                      which

represents                ministerial                      accountability                      to         the

42

legislature”   and   that   Article   75(3)   lays   down   that

the   Council   of   Ministers   shall   be   collectively

responsible   to   the   Lok   Sabha.     Mr.   Narsimha   urged

that   the   principle   of   collective   responsibility

ensured  the  unity  of  the  Members  of  the  Government

and   also   made   sure   that   each   individual   Minister

took   responsibility   in   regard   to   Cabinet   decisions

and to take action to implement the same.

40.         Mr.   Narsimha   submitted   that   as   soon   as   the

Appellants   joined   the   Ministry   led   by   Shri

Yeddyurappa   as   Ministers,   they   divested   themselves

of          their         independent         character         and         became

collectively   responsible   to   the   other   Members   of

the   Cabinet   and   the   Members   of   the   State   Assembly

for governance of the State.

41.         Most of the grounds taken in the present set of

appeals   were   also   taken   in   the   Civil   Appeals

arising   out   of   Special   Leave   Petition   Nos.33123-

33155  of  2010  and  other  connected  appeals  filed  by

43

Balachandra   L.   Jarkiholi   and   others.     As   indicated

hereinbefore   the   only   point   of   difference   between

the   two   sets   of   appeals   is   that   while   in   the

earlier   set   of   appeals   the   issue   involved   was

whether   the   Appellants   had   voluntarily   given   up

their   membership   of   the   Bharatiya   Janata   Party   so

as   to   attract   the   disqualification   provisions

contained   in   paragraph   2(a)   of   the   Tenth   Schedule

to  the  Constitution,  in  the  present  set  of  appeals

the   question   is   whether   the   Appellants   having   been

elected   as   independent   members   of   the   Karnataka

Assembly   had   incurred   disqualification     from   the

membership  of  the  House  in  terms  of  paragraph  2(2)

of   the   Tenth   Schedule   of   the   Constitution   by

joining   the   Bharatiya   Janata   Party   through   their

acts   of   extending   support   to   a   government   led   by

Shri B.S. Yeddyurappa and becoming Ministers in the

said government.

44

42.    From the facts as disclosed during the hearing

and   the   materials   on   record,   it   is   the   admitted

case   of   both   the   parties   that   the   Appellants   had

been   elected   to   the   13th      Karnataka   Legislative

Assembly as independent candidates in the elections

held   in   May   2008.     It   is   also   not   disputed   that

immediately after the declaration of the results of

the   Assembly   Elections   on   25.5.2008,   Shri   B.   S.

Yeddyurappa   secured   letters   of   support   from   the

Appellants herein on 26th May, 2008, and on the same

day  he  addressed  a  letter  to  the  Governor  claiming

majority   support   of   the   House   which   included   the

support of the Appellants herein, with a request to

the   Governor   to   appoint   him   as   Chief   Minister   of

the  State.  It  is  also  undisputed  that  on  30.5.2008

Shri  Yeddyurappa  was  sworn  in  as  Chief  Minister  of

Karnataka   along   with   the   Appellants   as   Cabinet

Ministers   and   on   4.6.2008,   he   proved   his   majority

in the House.

45

43.    The   question   with   which   we   are   concerned   is

whether   by   their   said   acts,   or   acts   subsequent

thereto,   the   Appellants   could   be   said   to   have

joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.

44.    After having been sworn in as Ministers in the

Government   led   by   Shri   Yeddyurappa,   the   Appellants

undisputedly   attended   meetings   of   the   B.J.P.

Legislature   Party   and   had   also   participated   in

rallies   and   public   meetings   which   had   been

conducted by the said party.   The Speaker, as well

as   the   Full   Bench   of   the   High   Court,   came   to   the

conclusion   that   by   offering   letters   of   support   to

Shri   Yeddyurappa   and   joining   his   Council   of

Ministers,          the         Appellants         had         shed         their

independent   status   and   had   joined   the   Bharatiya

Janata   Party,   and   the   same   was   subsequently

corroborated   by   their   further   action   in   attending

the   meetings   of   the   B.J.P.   Legislature   Party   and

participating   in   its   programmes.     Both   the   Speaker

46

and   the   High   Court,   therefore,   held   that   the

Appellants   had   become   disqualified   from   the

Membership of the House under paragraph 2(2) of the

Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

45.   In   the   absence   of   any   written   and/or

documentary         proof         of         the         Appellants         having

joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, both the Speaker

and   the   High   Court   relied   on   the   decision   of   this

Court   in   Ravi   Naik’s   case   (supra),   which   was

subsequently   followed   in   Dr.   Mahachandra   Prasad

Singh’s   case   (supra)   and   Jagjit   Singh’s   case

(supra),   in   which   it   was   held   that     in   order   to

incur disqualification under  paragraph 2(2) of the

Tenth   Schedule   to   the   Constitution   it   was   not

always necessary that a written communication would

have   to   be   made   to   the   political   party   in   that

regard.     As   far   as   issuance   of   Whip   by   the   Chief

Whip   of   the   Bharatiya   Janata   Party   is   concerned,

such   an   act   would   not  ipso   facto  be   taken   as

47

conclusive   proof   that   the   Appellants   had   joined

Bharatiya   Janata   Party.     Furthermore,   in   the   face

of   denial   by   the   Appellants   of   having   been   served

with the Whip, there is nothing on record to prove

that they were actually received by the Appellants.

46.    The   decisions   referred   to   hereinabove   have

settled   certain   principles   of   law   relating   to

interpretation   of   the   provisions   of   the   Tenth

Schedule   to   the   Constitution,   but   the   said

principles   have   to   be   applied   in   each   case   in   its

own   set   of   facts.       In   the   facts   of   this   case,

there   is   no   material   or   evidence   to   show   that   the

Appellants had at any time joined the B.J.P.   Even

as   independents,   the   Appellants   could   extend

support to a government formed by a political party

and   could   become   a   Minister   in   such   government.

There   is   no   legal   bar   against   such   extension   of

support   or   joining   the   government.     Hence,   such

extension   of   support   or   joining   the   government   as

48

Minister  by  an  independent  does  not  by  itself  mean

that he has joined the political party which formed

the government.   There is also no evidence to show

that   the   Appellants   were   accepted   and   treated   as

members of the B.J.P. by that political party.   It

is   to   be   noted   that   the   Petitioners   before   the

Speaker   had   no   grievance   about   the   Appellants

supporting   the   B.J.P.   Government   and   becoming

Ministers   in   the   government,   for   more   than   two

years.     Only   when   the   Appellants   withdrew   support

to   the   government   led   by   Shri   Yeddyurappa   and   a

Confidence   Vote   was   scheduled   to   be   held,   the

Petitioners   raked   up   the   issue   of   alleged

disqualification.         The   Appellants,   even   while

participating   in   the   meetings   of   the   B.J.P.

Legislature   Party,   were   shown   separately   in   a

category   different   from   the   other   participants   in

such   meetings,   which   clearly   indicates   that   the

Appellants,   though   Ministers   in   the   Government   led

by   Shri   Yeddyurappa,   were   treated   differently   from

49

members   of   B.J.P.   and   were   considered   to   be   only

lending   support   to   the   Government   led   by   Shri

Yeddyurappa,   without   losing   their   independent

status.   Mere participation in the rallies or public

meetings organised by the B.J.P. cannot lead to the

conclusion   that   the   Appellants   had   joined   the

B.J.P.

47.    The   results   of   the   election   were   declared   on

25th  May,   2008.       Sri   B.S.   Yeddyurappa   was   elected

as   Leader   of   the   B.J.P.   Legislature   Party   on   26th

May, 2008.   The Appellants who had been elected as

Independents          declared         their         support         to         Sri

Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister on 26th May, 2008.  In

the   Notification   dated   27th  May,   2008   constituting

the Legislative Assembly, the Appellants were shown

as Independents.  In the statement submitted by the

Leader   of   the   B.J.P.   Legislature   Party,   the   names

of   Appellants   were   not   included   in   the   list   of

B.J.P. members.  In the Registers maintained by the

50

Speaker   under   Rules   3   &   4   of   the   Disqualification

Rules,   the   Appellants   were   shown   as   Independents

and   at   any   time   after   they   were   sworn   in   as

Ministers on 30th  May, 2008, no change was effected

in   the   Registers.     No   information   was   furnished

either   by   the   Appellants   or   by   the   B.J.P.

Legislature   Party   to   include   the   Appellants   among

B.J.P.   members.     Thus,   as   per   the   Records   of   the

Legislative   Assembly,   the   Appellants   were   not

members         of               B.J.P.             when                   the         order         of

disqualification was passed by the Speaker.

48.    We are unable to accept the submission made on

behalf of the Respondents that by extending support

to   Shri   Yeddyurappa   in   the   formation   of   the

Bharatiya            Janata                Party         led               government,               the

Appellants                had         sacrificed                 their                 independent

identities.  The fact that the said Appellants also

joined the Council of Ministers does not also point

to   such   an   eventuality.     It   is   no   doubt   true   that

51

an   independent   legislator   does   not   always   have   to

express   his   intention   to   join   a   party   in   writing,

but   the   mere   extension   of   support   to   Shri

Yeddyurappa   and   the   decision   to   join   his   Cabinet,

in   our   view,   were   not   sufficient   to   conclude   that

the   Appellants   had   decided   to   join   and/or   had

actually   joined   the   Bharatiya   Janata   Party,

particularly   on   account   of   the   subsequent   conduct

in   which   they   were   treated   differently   from   the

Members of the Bharatiya Janata Party.   In view of

our  finding  that  the  Appellants  had  not  joined  any

political          party         as         alleged,         the         order         of

disqualification   passed   by   the   Speaker   was   against

the   Constitutional   mandate   in   para   2(2)   of   the

Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

49.    This   leaves   us   with   the   other   question   as   to

whether   the   Speaker   acted   in   contravention   of   the

provisions   of   Rule   7(3)   of   the   Disqualification

Rules under which a Member of the House, to whom a

52

Show-Cause   Notice   is   issued,   has   to   be   given   7

days’   time   or   more   to   reply   to   the   Show-Cause

Notice.     The   question   which   immediately   follows   is

whether the Speaker acted in hot haste in disposing

of   the   Disqualification   Application   against   the

Appellants   for   their   disqualification   from   the

House.   Yet   another   question   which   arises   is   with

regard to the scope of judicial review of an order

passed   by   the   Speaker   under   paragraph   2(2)   of   the

Tenth   Schedule   to   the   Constitution,   having   regard

to the provisions of Article 212 thereof.

50.    There   is   no   denying   the   fact   that   the   Show-

Cause  Notices  issued  to  the  Appellants  were  not  in

conformity with the provisions of Rules 6 and 7 of

the           Karnataka                 Legislative                     Assembly

(Disqualification            of         Members         on         Ground         of

Defection) Rules, 1986, inasmuch as, the Appellants

were   not   given   7   days’   time   to   reply   to   the   Show-

Cause   Notices   as   contemplated   under   Rule   7(3)   of

53

the  aforesaid  Rules.    Without  replying  to  the  said

objection   raised,   the   Speaker   avoided   the   issue   by

stating   that   it   was   sufficient   for   attracting   the

provisions   of   paragraph   2(2)   of   the   Tenth   Schedule

to   the   Constitution   that   the   Appellants   herein   had

admitted   that   they   had   withdrawn   support   to   the

Government   led   by   Shri   B.S.   Yeddyurappa.           The

Speaker   further   recorded   that   the   Appellants   had

been   represented   by   counsel   who   had   justified   the

withdrawal of support to the Government led by Shri

Yeddyurappa.   Without   giving   further   details,   the

Speaker   observed   that   the   Disqualification   Rules

had been held by this Court to be directory and not

mandatory, as they were to be followed for the sake

of convenience.  The provisions of Rule 7(3) of the

Disqualification   Rules   were   held   by   the   High   Court

to   be   directory   in   nature   and   that   deviation   from

the   said   Rules   could   not   and   did   not   vitiate   the

procedure   contemplated   under   the   Rules,   unless   the

violation   of   the   procedure   is   shown   to   have

54

resulted   in   prejudice   to   the   Appellants.   The

Speaker   wrongly   relied   upon   the   affidavit   filed   by

Shri K.S. Eswarappa, State President of the B.J.P.,

although there was nothing on record to support the

allegations   which   had   been   made   therein.   In   fact,

the   said   affidavit   had   not   been   served   on   the

Appellants.   Since   Shri   K.S.   Eswarappa   was   not   a

party   to   the   proceedings,   the   Speaker   should   have

caused   service   of   copies   of   the   same   on   the

Appellants   to   meet   the   allegations   made   therein.

Coupled with the fact that the Speaker had violated

the provisions of Rule 7(3) of the Disqualification

Rules   in   giving   the   Appellants   less   than   7   days’

time   to   reply   to   the   Show-Cause   Notices   issued   to

them,   failure   of   the   Speaker   to   cause   service   of

copies   of   the   affidavit   affirmed   by   Shri   K.S.

Eswarappa   amounted   to   denial   of   natural   justice   to

the   Appellants,   besides   revealing   a   partisan

attitude   in   the   Speaker’s   approach   in   disposing   of

the Disqualification Application filed by Shri B.S.

55

Yeddyurappa.   If the Speaker had wanted to rely on

the   statements   made   in   the   aforesaid   affidavit,   he

should   have   given   the   Appellants   an   opportunity   of

questioning   the   deponent   as   to   the   truth   of   the

statements made in his affidavit.   This conduct on

the   part   of   the   Speaker   also   indicates   the   hot

haste   with   which   the   Speaker   disposed   of   the

Disqualification   Application,   raising   doubts   as   to

the   bona   fides   of   the   action   taken   by   him.     The

explanation   given   by   the   Speaker   as   to   why   the

notices   to   show   cause   had   been   issued   to   the

Appellants   under   Rule   7   of   the   Disqualification

Rules,   giving   the   Appellants   only   3   days’   time   to

respond   to   the   same,   is   not   very   convincing.

There   was   no   compulsion   on   the   Speaker   to   decide

the   Disqualification   Applications   in   such   a   great

hurry,   within   the   time   specified   by   the   Governor

for   the   holding   of   a   Vote   of   Confidence   in   the

government   headed   by   Shri   B.S.   Yeddyurappa.     It

would   appear   that   such   a   course   of   action   was

56

adopted by the Speaker on 10th  October, 2010, since

the   Vote   of   Confidence   on   the   Floor   of   the   House

was   to   be   held   on   12th  October,   2010.     We   have   no

hesitation  to  hold  that  the  Speaker’s  order  was  in

violation   of   Rules   6   &   7   of   the   Disqualification

Rules   and   the   rules   of   natural   justice   and   that

such   violation   resulted   in   prejudice   to   the

Appellants.    Therefore,  we  hold  that  even  if  Rules

6   &   7   are   only   directory   and   not   mandatory,   the

violation of Rules 6 & 7 resulting in violation of

the rules of natural justice has vitiated the order

of the Speaker and it is liable to be set aside.

51.    We   are   next   faced   with   the   question   as   to   the

manner   in   which   the   Disqualification   Applications

were proceeded with and disposed of by the Speaker.

On   6th     October,   2010,   on   receipt   of   identical

letters   from   the   Appellants   withdrawing   support   to

the B.J.P. Government led by Shri B.S. Yeddyurappa,

the Governor on the very same day wrote a letter to

57

the         Chief         Minister         informing         him         of         the

developments regarding the withdrawal of support of

the   5   independent   MLAs   and   13   B.J.P.   MLAs   and

requesting   him   to   prove   his   majority   on   the   Floor

of the House on or before 12th October, 2010 by 5.00

p.m.   The Speaker was also requested to take steps

accordingly.     On   the   very   same   day,   Shri   B.S.

Yeddyurappa,   as   the   leader   of   the   B.J.P.   in   the

Legislative   Assembly,   filed   an   application   before

the   Speaker   under   Rule   6   of   the   Disqualification

Rules, 1986, for a declaration that all the 13 MLAs

elected   on   B.J.P.   tickets   along   with   two   other

independent   MLAs,   had   incurred   disqualification

under   the   Tenth   Schedule   to   the   Constitution.

Immediately   thereafter,   on   7th  October,   2010,   the

Speaker   issued   Show-Cause   Notices   to   the   concerned

MLAs   informing   them   of   the   Disqualification

Application filed by Shri B.S. Yeddyurappa and also

informing   them   that   by   withdrawing   support   to   the

Government   led   by   Shri   B.S.   Yeddyurappa,   they   were

58

disqualified   from   continuing   as   Members   of   the

House   in   view   of   paragraph   2(1)(a)   of   the   Tenth

Schedule to the Constitution.   On 7th  October, 2010

itself, Petitions were filed against the Appellants

by   the   Respondents   and   the   Speaker   on   8th  October,

2010   issued   show-cause   notices   to   the   Appellants.

The   Appellants   and   the   B.J.P.   MLAs   to   whom   show-

cause notices were issued were given time till 5.00

p.m.   on   10th     October,   2010,   to   submit   their

objection,   if   any,   to   the   said   application.   Apart

from the fact that the Appellants were not given 7

days’   time   to   file   their   reply   to   the   Show-Cause

Notices,   the   High   Court   did   not   give   serious

consideration  to  the  fact  that  even  service  of  the

Show-Cause   Notices   on   the   Appellants   and   the   13

MLAs   belonging   to   the   Bharatiya   Janata   Party   had

not   been   properly   effected.   Furthermore,   the   MLAs

who   were   sought   to   be   disqualified   were   also   not

served   with   copies   of   the   Affidavit   filed   by   Shri

K.S. Eswarappa, although the Speaker relied heavily

59

on   the   contents   thereof   in   arriving   at   the

conclusion   that   they   stood   disqualified   under

paragraph 2(1)(a)/2(2) of the Tenth Schedule to the

Constitution.   The   MLAs   were   not   supplied   with

copies   of   the   affidavits   filed   by   Sri   M.P.

Renukacharya and Shri Narasimha Nayak, whereby they

had retracted the statements which they had made in

their   letters   submitted   to   the   Governor   on   6th

October,   2010.   What   is   even   more   glaring   is   the

fact   that   the   Speaker   not   only   relied   upon   the

contents of the said affidavits, but also dismissed

the   Disqualification   Application   against   them   on

the  basis  of  such  retraction,  after  having  held  in

the   case   of   13   MLAs   belonging   to   the   Bharatiya

Janata   Party   that   they   had   violated   the   provisions

of   paragraph   2(1)(a)   of   the   Tenth   Schedule   to   the

Constitution   immediately   upon   their   intention   to

withdraw   their   support   to   the   Government   led   by

Shri   B.S.   Yeddyurappa   was   communicated   to   the

Governor.

60

52.    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         and         the         13         B.J.P.         MLAs         stood

disqualified   prior   to   the   date   on   which   the   Floor

test was to be held.   Having concluded the hearing

on   10th  October,   2010   by   5.00   p.m.,   the   Speaker

passed detailed orders, in which various judgments,

both   of   Indian   Courts   and   foreign   Courts,   and

principles   of   law   from   various   authorities   were

referred   to,   on   the   same   day,   holding   that   the

Appellants and the other MLAs stood disqualified as

Members of the House.   The Vote of Confidence took

place   on   11th         October,   2010,   in   which   the

disqualified   Members   could   not   participate,   and   in

their   absence   Shri   B.S.   Yeddyurappa   was   able   to

prove his majority in the House.

61

53.    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.

54.    We cannot lose sight of the fact that although

the   same   allegations   as   had   been   made   by   Shri

Yeddyurappa   against   the   disqualified   B.J.P.   MLAs,

were   made   also   against   Shri   M.P.   Renukacharya   and

Shri Narasimha Nayak, whose retraction was accepted

by   the   Speaker,   despite   the   view   expressed   by   him

that upon submitting the letter withdrawing support

to   the   B.J.P.   Government   led   by   Shri   B.S.

Yeddyurappa,   all   the   MLAs   stood   immediately

disqualified   under   paragraph   2(1)(a)   of   the   Tenth

Schedule   to   the   Constitution,   the   said   two

legislators   were   not   disqualified   and   they   were

allowed   to   participate   in   the   Confidence   Vote,   for

reasons which are obvious.

62

55.      Therefore, we hold that the impugned order of

the Speaker is vitiated by mala fides.

56.    On   the   question   of   justiciability   of   the

Speaker’s   order   on   account   of   the   expression   of

finality   in   paragraph   2   of   the   Tenth   Schedule   to

the   Constitution,   it   is   now   well-settled   that   such

finality   did   not   bar   the   jurisdiction   of   the

superior   Courts   under   Articles   32,   226   and   136   of

the   Constitution   to   judicially   review   the   order   of

the   Speaker.   Under   paragraph   2   of   the   Tenth

Schedule         to         the         Constitution,         the         Speaker

discharges quasi-judicial functions, which makes an

order   passed   by   him   in   such   capacity,   subject   to

judicial review.

57.    We   are,   therefore,   unable   to   sustain   the

decision   of   the   Speaker,   as   affirmed   by   the   High

Court on all counts, and we, accordingly, allow the

appeals   and   set   aside   the   orders   passed   by   the

63

Speaker on 11th  October, 2010 and by the Full Bench

of the High Court on 14th February, 2011.

58.     There will, however, be no order as to costs.

…………………………………………J.

(ALTAMAS KABIR)

…………………………………………J.

(CYRIAC JOSEPH)

New Delhi

Dated: 25.01.2012

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