SC junks Cong Yedi tape plea
The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down the Karnataka Congress’s plea to take on record an audio clip in which chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa purportedly predicted a favourable verdict for 17 Congress-JDS legislators whose defections brought the BJP to power in the state but led to their disqualification.
The apex court said that since it had already reserved its judgment on the plea by the 17 MLAs challenging their disqualification under the anti-defection law by then Speaker K.R. Ramesh, no purpose would be served by entertaining the fresh application moved by the Congress.
A bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana briefly heard the Congress’s plea, raised by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, and said in a written order: “As judgment in these matters has already been reserved on 25.10.2019, no further orders are required at present.”
In his submission, Sibal told the court that Yediyurappa had made the comments at a core committee meeting of the BJP in Hubli.
“…A speech was made by the present chief minister at the core committee meeting of the BJP which has been reported by every newspaper. It shows that everything was engineered at the instance of the (Union) home minister and that they were privy to it,” Sibal told the court.
However, Justice Ramana asked: “What is the relevance of this? We are already considering all these issues. We have heard you on how they went to Mumbai and stayed at a five-star hotel (after the defections).”
Sibal persisted with the plea that the court take on record the audio clip in which a voice resembling that of Yediyurappa can be heard. But Justice Ramana said: “You have brought it to our notice. Leave it. Let’s give the judgment.”
Another senior counsel, Rajeev Dhavan, also pleaded that the court take on record the audio clip before passing any judgment.
On October 25, the bench had reserved its verdict on the disqualification of the 17 MLAs. But the tape with the purported voice of Yediyurappa injected a twist into the proceedings.
“I alone was not involved in the operation to lure away the Congress MLAs, who were kept in a Mumbai hotel — the national president of the party was managing things,” the voice in the tape said.
Amit Shah, the Union home minister, is the national president of the BJP.
The voice in the tape added: “The Supreme Court judgment is coming; the disqualified MLAs will be allowed to contest.”