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A three-judge bench of the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday adjourned to November 8 the hearing of an appeal of the five Independent legislators against their disqualification from the state assembly. Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice A.S. Bopanna, who took up the hearing Tuesday, ordered issuing of notice to assembly Speaker K.B. Bopaiah seeking his response to the petition of the Independents.

The five were disqualified on October 11 along with 11 ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmakers for expressing lack of confidence in Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa. Of the five, four were ministers at that time. They were subsequently sacked from the ministry.

Disqualification of the 11 BJP lawmakers has been upheld by the Karnataka High Court.

Chief Justice J.S. Khehar constituted the full bench to hear the Independents’ case after a division bench headed by him and comprising Justice N. Kumar delivered a split verdict on October 18 on appeal of the 11 BJP lawmakers.

The court’s third judge, Justice V.G. Sabhahit, however, upheld on October 29 the disqualification of the 11 rebel BJP legislators under part 2(1)(a) of the 10th Schedule of the constitution, pertaining to the anti-defection law.

Justice Khehar and Justice Kumar had heard the Independents’ disqualification case till Oct 12. Since the two differed over disqualification of the BJP lawmakers, they decided to refer the Independents’ appeal to a three-judge bench of the court.

Independents Shivaraj S. Tangadagi, Venkataramanappa, P.M. Narendra Swamy, D. Sudhakar and Gulihatti Shekar were disqualified from the assembly by the speaker on October 11.

Shekar was dropped from the ministry on September 22 while the remaining four were sacked on October 6 after they submitted a joint letter to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, withdrawing support to the 29-month-old BJP government and expressing lack of confidence in Yeddyurappa.

Yeddyurappa won the confidence motion first on October 11 by voice vote marred by bedlam, and then for the second time on October 13 by the division of votes with 106 in favour and 100 against in a reduced house of 209 members.

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