By P.T. Bopanna
Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa’s ‘yes man’ K.G. Bopaiah (in picture), who was pulled up by the Supreme Court for his partisan action as Speaker to save the Yediyurappa government in 2010, is again in the race to become the Speaker.
It would be highly improper to appoint him as Speaker this time, because of his dubious track record and also the fact that the Karnataka High Court is looking into the charge that he had grabbed reserve forest to build a palatial house at Madikeri in Kodagu (Coorg) district.
Kombarana Ganapathy Bopaiah represents the Virajpet constituency in Kodagu and was recently involved in trouble-shooting missions for his boss to destabilise the Kumaraswamy government.
In October 2010, when then chief minister Yediyurappa faced a trust vote, Bopaiah disqualified five independent MLAs and 11 BJP MLAs for going against the chief minister.
The Supreme Court quashed the disqualification of MLAs making strong observations on the Speaker that he acted in “hot haste”. A Supreme Court bench, comprising chief justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph, ruled that his decision not to serve notice on the MLAs or hear their version amounted to violation of the principles of fair play and natural justice.
The court in its ruling of May 11, 2011 said: “Unless it was to ensure that the trust vote did not go against the chief minister, there was no conceivable reason for the Speaker to have taken up the disqualification application in such a great hurry.”
Meanwhile, the Karnataka High Court is looking into a public interest litigation involving Bopaiah for encroaching reserve forest lands in Kodagu. The PIL will come up for hearing on August 8.
The petitioner claimed that Bopaiah had built a bungalow on 20 cents of land, and information furnished by the Madikeri municipal authorities under the RTI revealed that he had obtained khata for the same.