Karnataka floor test: Yeddyurappa govt’s fate to be decided tomorrow at 4 pm

Karnataka floor test: Yeddyurappa govt’s fate to be decided tomorrow at 4 pm

“The pro tem Speaker shall conduct the Floor Test on 19.05.2018 at 04.00 PM in order to ascertain the majority,” the order stated and asked the Karnataka DGP to ensure security for the process.

Mumbai: Doing away with the 15-day breather Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala had granted Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa to prove majority, the Supreme Court Friday directed that he take a floor test in the House at 4 pm Saturday. The bench of Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan asked the Chief Minister not to take any policy decision till he proved majority. The judges also put on hold any move to nominate a member of the Anglo-Indian community to the House.

Hearing a petition filed by Karnataka Congress chief G Parameshwara and JD(S) president H D Kumaraswamy against the Governor’s decision to invite Yeddyurappa to form the new government, the bench said the hearing would consume a lot of time and it was better to order a floor test. “We have to choose between the devil and the deep sea”.

“In a matter like this, detailed hearing is required in order to decide as to 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.

“Though the Governor in his letter dated 16.05.2018 inviting respondent no.3 to form the Government has given him 15 days time for proving the majority on the floor of the House, having regard to all the circumstances of this case, we are of the view that such a Floor Test be conducted tomorrow itself i.e. on 19.05.2018,” the bench directed.

The judges also laid down the procedure to be followed for the floor test since the new MLAs have not yet taken oath. It ordered that a pro tem Speaker be appointed and swearing-in of the members be completed by 4 pm.

“The pro tem Speaker shall conduct the Floor Test on 19.05.2018 at 04.00 PM in order to ascertain the majority,” the order stated and asked the Karnataka DGP to ensure security for the process.

On the floor test, Justice Sikri observed “ultimately it is a number game… Speaker has to decide” and this had to be proved in the House.

“The situation is: on one hand, there is a party which has given names and the other simply claims it has support. How do we decide? Sarkaria (Commission recommendations) say largest party (be invited to form party). After that, if there is a pre-poll alliance, it is highest — rationale being that voters knew they were projecting themselves. So as far as post-poll alliances are concerned, it is kept below largest party because voters didn’t know they would come together… there would be question of will of people… Majority has to be proved on the floor of the House,” Justice Sikri said.

During a pre-dawn hearing Thursday, the bench had said that it wanted to see the two letters dated May 15 and 16 written by Yedyurappa to the Governor, staking claim to form the government. Appearing for Yedyurappa Friday, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi produced the two letters. He read out the letters. The May 15 letter said he was “confident” of proving majority on the floor of the House while the latter said he had the BJP numbers plus “the support of others and requisite majority”.

Rohatgi said he didn’t want to disclose the names of the “others” who were supporting Yeddyurappa given the prevailing situation. “In a nutshell, the mandate is for largest party. Mandate is for change… There is no requirement for us to declare names of those in these two parties who support us… there is an atmosphere of apprehension. MLAs have been taken to resorts… We fear they (MLAs) are not being allowed to vote according to their conscience,” he said.

After perusing the letters, the bench said it had two options before it. “Either we hear it in detail… or we order floor test tomorrow itself. We don’t give any time to anybody.”

Questioning the Governor’s decision, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for the petitioners, asked “is it fair to call someone with fewer numbers”. “Look at the intent (of the Governor) to give 15 days after inviting A for B or B for C”.

Justice Bobde said “whoever may be called, decision is that of the House”.

Rohatgi said he had doubts regarding the Congress letter to the Governor and claimed that some documents were likely “withheld” from him. He said many of those who were said to have signed it had not actually signed. “They said Anand Singh signed. But he did not sign,” he said. Countering him, senior advocate Kapil Sibal said: “We have the signatures”. Rohatgi protested: “I am disputing the signatures. Only floor test can show their truth.”

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Karnataka government, backed Rohatgi, saying official records with him clearly showed that the letter received by the Governor from the Congress did not have the signatures of members in support. But the JD(S) list had them, he said, adding that the Congress list looked like it was downloaded, apparently from the Election Commission website.

Singhvi cited the numbers enjoyed by the BJP and the Congress-JD(S) combine and said Yeddyurappa could not win majority except by engineering defections. This was against “Constitutional morality” and the question was whether the court would encourage this, he asked. “That is also in our mind,” Justice Sikri said. As Singhvi persisted, Justice Sikri said “if we are going to hear and decide, it will lead to loss of precious time”.

The judge told Sibal “we understand that you have much to say… the other side also. Ultimately, we have to hear and decide… Maybe we will get to lay down the law once and for all”.

He said “we are here to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution”.

Singhvi said the list given by the JD(S) and Congress were exhaustive and that the BJP letter should have had “more details”.

The petitioners then raised their plea seeking to restrain the Chief Minister from nominating any Anglo-Indian community member as MLA. When Justice Sikri said the government could not do that, ASG Mehta replied “there is no such move to nominate any member”.

When the bench indicated again that it will order a floor test Saturday, Rohatgi pleaded for more “reasonable” time, saying one day was too short. “Sarkaria says 30 days, Governor gave 15… I say both are more, but give some reasonable time. It should not be tomorrow.”

But the court refused to grant the request saying “we will not compromise on this”.

Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General K K Venugopal asked if the court would consider a “secret ballot”, but the court said it had never allowed such a procedure.

Sibal then sought division of benches but Rohatgi opposed this, saying it was up to the Speaker on how to conduct the business. The court also rejected this, saying the pro tem Speaker will hold the vote as per the rules of the House.

While dictating the order, Justice Sikri asked the CM not to take any major policy decisions till he had cleared the floor test. Rohatgi told the bench to record his assurance to this effect and not issue such a direction. The court agreed to this and recorded his assurance.

“We had read in the papers about it… Anyway, we think he will be busy with other things after this order,” Justice Sikri said, causing much merriment in the courtroom.

About Admin

With a vision to create an independent media platform for common men of India, India Ajtak was founded in 2012 by IPS Yadav a visionary media man under the ownership of Independent Publicity Services, Mumbai. Web Portal http://indiaajtak.com/ and You Tube Channel https://youtube.com/indiaajtaklive publishes exclusive contents related (but not limited to) Innovative News Biographies, Success Stories, Business Listing, Portfolios, Headlines, Current Affairs, Events, Breaking News, Trending News, Reviews, Interviews, Analysis, Investigations.
View all posts by Admin →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *