SC must order immediate floor test

While the wisdom of the court cannot be questioned, it would do well to apply its own precedent in the Karnataka matter to Maharashtra.

The Supreme Court, which is dealing with the Maharashtra political imbroglio, has played into the BJP’s hands by adjourning the matter twice, though it has officially not heeded to the party’s demand for more time to present its case. By doing so, the court has given a window to the BJP to indulge in horse-trading and cobble up a majority before the motion of confidence is put to vote in the Assembly.

Obviously, the judges cannot be expected to adjudicate on the larger question of law in a day or two considering the various constitutional issues involved, but not ordering an immediate floor test, pending final disposal of the case, may amount to defeating the ends of justice.

The contents of the letter submitted by Devendra Fadnavis staking claim to form the government, the documents provided by Ajit Pawar of NCP extending support to the BJP and the subsequent invitation by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari are no doubt pertinent to the case, but they are not of urgency and can wait, especially when the court has decided that it will not rule on the Governor’s prerogative. But a delay in the floor test can lead to a subversion of justice.

A similar situation had arisen in 2018 when Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala swore in BS Yediyurappa of the BJP as chief minister though he did not have numbers on his side. On being approached by the Congress and JD(S), the Supreme Court ordered the chief minister to prove his majority the very next day, thus rightly not giving the parties involved time to indulge in political horse-trading.

Yediyurappa could not prove his majority and had to resign before the motion was put to vote in the Assembly. Unfortunately, with the court yet to pronounce its final order and decide on the constitutional validity of Vala’s action, those holding gubernatorial posts continue to indulge in such misadventures with impunity.

While the wisdom of the court cannot be questioned, it would do well to apply its own precedent in the Karnataka matter to Maharashtra. However, it may also have to pre-empt any possible mischief by Ajit Pawar, who could issue a whip to NCP MLAs in his capacity of legislature party leader, directing them to vote in favour of the government, though he has been removed from the post.

In due course, the court should also examine if Koshyari’s actions were in accordance with the Constitution and lay down guidelines to ensure that governors use their discretionary powers to uphold the tenets of democracy, not to serve the interests of their political masters in Delhi. 

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