SC junks BSY’s plea for more time, orders floor test today

SC junks BSY’s plea for more time, orders floor test today

The inside view of Legislative Assembly of Karnataka. (DH Photo)
Apex court directed B S Yeddyurappa not to take any policy decision

The Supreme Court on Friday directed for conducting floor test “immediately and without delay” to ascertain the majority in Karnataka Assembly.

It ordered for the floor test at 4 pm on Saturday and asked Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa not to take any policy decision till then.

A bench of Justices

A K Sikri, S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan said going into the larger question raised in petition filed by Congress leader G Parameshwara and chief ministerial nominee of the Congress-JD(S) combine H D Kumaraswamy, whether the Governor should have invited the single largest party in a situation like that of Karnataka, would require longer hearing.

“Whether action of the Governor in inviting respondent No. 3 (Yeddyurappa) to form the government was valid in law or not. Since it may consume substantial time and the final decision cannot be given immediately, we deem it proper that floor test to ascertain the majority of one or the other group is conducted immediately and without any delay,” the bench said.

The court said though Governor Vajubhai Vala gave 15 days time to Yeddyurappa to prove his majority, the floor test should be conducted by Saturday. It did not agree to a contention by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Yeddyurappa to give more time.

It gave out detailed modalities like the immediate appointment of pro tem Speaker, administering of oath to all MLAs on Saturday and conducting of floor test in accordance with the House rules.

The court also directed the Karnataka Director General and Inspector General of Police to herself supervise the arrangement to provide adequate and sufficient security, so that there is no lapse on this count. The court passed its order after Rohatgi furnished the letters sent by Yeddyurappa to the Governor wherein he claimed support of 104 party MLAs along with “others” to provide a stable government.

Senior advocates A M Singhvi and Kapil Sibal, representing the petitioners, submitted the Governor should not have invited Yeddyurappa on the basis of his letters which did not contain a full list of MLAs. Their contention was countered by Rohatgi and others who said there was no requirement to give names.

The court then indicated that it could order floor test within the shortest possible duration. Attorney General K K Venugopal sought direction for conducting the voting through secret ballot but the court rejected it.

While furnishing the May 16 letter of Yeddyurappa to the Governor, Rohatgi said, “The role of Governor is to see who is the single largest party. The real test is the floor of House”.

He submitted that 95% mandate is for change in Karnataka. He called the Congress-JD(S) alliance as unholy one.

The court then said, “At the end of the day, whether post-poll alliance or a single largest party, it has to be tested on the floor of the House.”

On a plea that there should be no nomination of Anglo Indian member, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the state government, said that there is no such proposal.

The court agreed to hear 10 weeks after the petition filed on Wednesday night, saying this could be a case to lay down law as who should be invited to form the government in hung Assembly where no party has absolute majority.

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