It was a sigh of relief for the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Karnataka on Friday, with the Karnataka high court upholding the order of Speaker K G Bopaiah which had disqualified the 11 rebel BJP MLAs.
Justice V G Sabahith. who was appointed as the third judge in the matter, in a reasoned order upheld the order of the Speaker.
The 11 MLAs from the BJP had questioned the order of the Speaker disqualifying them during a trust vote in the House. The Speaker had disqualified them based on a complaint by the party members that they had indulged in anti-party activities and had tried to topple the B S Yeddyurappa government.
They were disqualified them hours before the Yeddyurappa government had taken the crucial trust vote two weeks back.
The matter was taken up to the court and a division bench comprising Chief Justice G S Kehar and Justice N Kumar had delivered a split verdict. The CJ had upheld the order of the Speaker, but Justice N Kumar had set it aside.
The matter was then placed before a third judge for a final decision.
Justice Sabahith, who heard arguments for a week agreed, with the order of the Chief Justice and held that the Speaker's decision was not bad in law and the right decision and was taken as per the guidelines available before him.
This verdict comes as a relief for the BJP government which would have been reduced to a minority had the court ruled in favour of the 11 rebels.
On Friday, the BJP has 107 members including the vote of the Speaker and one independent in a House which has been reduced to 208 after 16 members, including 5 independents, were disqualified.
The magic number that is required to remain in majority is 105, and the BJP had managed those numbers after Governor H R Bharadwaj ordered it to take a second trust vote three days later.
The strength of the Opposition had however come down to 98 from 100 after two Congress MLAs quit the party last week.
Counsel for the BJP rebels A S Ponnana told rediff.com that they would study the order and now would prefer an appeal before the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the case of the five independents who were disqualified will be taken up on November 2.