The Karnataka Crisis

As many of us have been closely following, a political crises is brewing in Karnataka. The SC recently set aside the disqualification of 11 BJP MLA’s who had rebelled against the party. I hope to write on the SC judgment in more detail soon, but at first glace it seems to conform to the well established set of precedents which state that the Speaker must conform to certain procedural requirements in his decision, and that the decision is subject to judicial review on narrow administrative law grounds like mala fide, violation of natural justice, and the like.

For now, I just want to point to a surprising editorial in the Indian Express that grossly misrepresents the SC verdict. It states “The Supreme Court recently restored the membership of the 11 rebel BJP MLAs, who had been disqualified by the assembly speaker, thus saving the Yeddyurappa government’s skin.”.

The SC did just the opposite! The MLA’s were political dissidents who rebelled against the BJP. By reinstating them, the SC threatened the BJP govt. It is no surprise then that BJP members have been criticizing the decision.

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  • Madhav,
    Can you explain how the SC threatened the BJP Govt's survival by reinstating these MLAs? These MLAs are now supporting Yeddy Govt. Therefore, by reinstating their memberships, the SC has favoured the Yeddy Govt.

  • Hi VV:

    We don't know whom these MLA's will support, only a vote can confirm that. But the SC judgment arose because these MLA's rebelled against the BJP. Their reinstatement therefore threatens the BJP govt given their past action. It is no surprise then that the judgment has been considered a blow to the BJP – it puts their majority at risk.


  • Thanks VV. The Governor's report is an exogenous issue – has no relevance to the narrow point I'm making. Also, it is a tad premature to debate the Governor's report given the fact that it's not public and we, quite frankly, have no idea what he has really recommended.

  • But the Governor's report is relevant in discussing the SC judgment. Is the Governor correct in concluding that after the SC judgment, it should be concluded that the BJP Government had lost the trial of strength in 2010, and therefore, must not continue in power, whatever the same MLAs might say now. Since the Centre cannot allow the BJP Government to continue, on the basis of illegal trial of strength held with illegal Speaker's disqualification order, imposition of President's rule would be justified. Should not the Supreme Court have gone into the consequences of its own judgment?

  • Since the Governor's report is not public, I suppose we could go by the media reports on what it might have recommended. I don't see any harm in speculative discussion, purely for academic reasons.

  • The anti-defection law is a no-law. It goes against the basics of the democracy and good governance and is a blot on our Constitution. During the last twenty years it has wrought havoc in the country's public life rendering the political process to be an oligarchy dictated by 'High Commands' and 'Supremos' and the peoples' representatives becoming mere gladiators and mercenaries. The nation and its citizens have become captive to pseudo-politics, dominated by vested interests bent on grinding their own axes.
    It is high-time that we had a re-look at the Anti-defection Law.