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Supreme Court: Refusing to interfere with the appointment of KG Bopaiah as the pro-tem speaker, the 3-judge bench of Dr. AK Sikri, SA Bobde and Ashok Bhushan, JJ said:

“Law can’t direct the Governor to appoint a particular person as Pro-tem Speaker. Unless convention becomes legal norm, it can’t be enforced by Court.”

The Bench had assembled on a non-working day to hear the interim petition filed by Congress-JD(S) against the appointment of BJP MLA Bopaiah as the protem speaker after the Court had directed that the Floor Test be conducted before a protem speaker. The Court had, on 18.05.2018, had asked newly sworn-in Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa to take a floor test at 4PM today.

While the Court had refused to interfere with the appointment of the protem speaker, it directed the live broadcast of the floor test and said:

“Live broadcast of Floor Test would be the best way to ensure transparency of proceedings.”

Earlier, Congress-JDS had approached the Supreme Court at late hours of Wednesday to stall the swearing in ceremony of BJP candidate BS Yeddyurappa as the Karnataka Chief Minister after the Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala asked him to seek trust votes in the floor test within 15 days of his swearing in. Without passing any order staying the oath ceremony of the new Karanataka Chief Minsiter, the Court said:

“In case, he is given oath in the meantime, that shall be subject to further orders of this Court and final outcome of the writ petition.”

(With inputs from ANI)

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Supreme Court: In the high-voltage political drama that has reached the highest Court of the nation, the 3-judge bench of Dr. AK Sikri, SA Bobde and Ashok Bhushan, JJ has asked newly sworn-in Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa to take a floor test at 4PM tomorrow to prove his majority. Justice Sikri said:

“Better to hold floor test on Saturday so that nobody gets any time.”

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for BJP, argued that BJP was confident that it will get the majority & might even get the support from few Congress and JDS MLAs. Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Congress-JD(S), said “BJP is just saying they have the majority without any specific number and names whereas we had given the names and numbers, how could Governor had invited Yeddyurappa to form the Government.”

Stating that floor test is the best option in the given situation, the Court said that the larger question of law on how should Governor invite a person to form the Govt can be settled here later.

Justice Sikri said:

“It’s just the number game, who enjoys the majority should be invited to form the Government.”

The Court, hence, ordered the appointment of a pro tem speaker and also stayed the nomination of any Anglo Indian MLA before the floor test.

Source: twitter.com/arvindgunasekar

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Supreme Court: In yet another high-profile election drama, when the Congress-JDS approached the Supreme Court at late hours of Wednesday to stall the swearing in ceremony of BJP candidate BS Yeddyurappa as the Karnataka Chief Minister after the Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala asked him to seek trust votes in the floor test within 15 days of his swearing in, the 3-judge bench of Dr AK Sikri, SA Bobde and Ashok Bhushan, JJ directed:

“As far as swearing-in is concerned, we are not restraining it, but we are making it subject to the outcome of the case.”

In the hearing that began at 01:45 AM, Congress-JDS contended that despite presenting the list of 116 MLAs, governor Vajubhai Vala has invited the BJP which has 104 MLAs to form the government and has given relatively longer time of 15 days to prove the majority on the floor of the House.

Below are the highlights of the midnight drama that transpired post Karnataka Election:

  • Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi (For Congress-JDS):
    • There are innumerable instances where combination of post-poll group was called despite there was a different single largest party, one such instance being the Goa Elections Goa where BJP outnumbering single largest party was called to form the Government and the Supreme Court had upheld this.
    • We are challenging the act of Governor not calling us. Should a person be given 15 days for proving majority? Governor can’t negate democracy and after the swearing in happens I can’t come to Supreme Court.
    • 104 ahead of 116 is adding insult to the injury. Giving 15 days is encouraging unconstitutional sin of poaching.
  • Bench: it is to be considered whether the Court can restrain a Governor,
  • Singhvi: Governor action is subject to judicial review. The argument is court should not issue injunction and judicial review is not the question.
  • Bench: We don’t even have the letter other party has written to governor.  How can we decide?
  • Singhvi: In Meghalaya, Manipur and Goa, Congress was the single-largest party but BJP and other parties were invited to form Government. Governor’s exercise of Government duty is under judicial review. Court can question Governor. Supreme Court can defer the swearing-in.
  • Bench: You want us to scrutinise discretion of governor but you don’t have letter given to governor which found basis for inviting BJP.
  • Singhvi: Governor doesn’t give any reason in calling BJP. Claim of BS Yeddyurappa is leader of BJP whereas Kumaraswamy is claiming Congress support. Unless Supreme Court sees Mr Yeddyurappa’s letter to the Governor, the court can defer the swearing-in. On what basis the governor invited BS Yeddyurappa.

_____________________________________________________________________________

  • Attorney General KK Venugopal (For BJP): Defection is one member crosses to other party. Defection law won’t apply before he is swearing in as MLA.
  • Bench: You mean before swearing in MLAs can switch sides? In a case like this how you will have more numbers when the other side has already given 116 to Governor. JDS and Congress outweigh BJP. In a situation like this on what basis Mr Yeddyurappa has staked claimed. The arithmetic defies in what way he was invited to form Government.
  • AG: Even if swearing-in takes place it is reversible. Once the floor test takes place real picture will be known.
  • Bench: Why 15 days were given by the governor?
  • AG: It is governor’s decision. Waiting for 15 days heavens will not fall. What’s the purpose of stopping the swearing-in? Let the floor test take place.
  • Bench: Your argument is floor test will fail.
  • AG: We don’t know.
  • Bench: What’s bothering us is the fluid situation.
  • AG: The the time given to BJP for proving majority can be reduced to seven days

_____________________________________________________________________________

  • Former Attorney General and Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi (For BJP): This case should have never been taken up at midnight.
  • Bench: On what basis you are claiming?
  • Rohatgi: 
    • Heavens won’t fall if someone is sworn in. Last time Supreme Court heard in night, the case related to hanging of Yakub Memon.
    • Congress wants injunction and wants governor not to discharge his function. Action of swearing can always be reversed by Supreme Court.
    • Question is can court stop governor from discharging his constitutional duty? Can Supreme Court stop President from signing warrant of appointing judges? Job of governor is to give oath – whether right or wrong.
    • Supreme Court can’t ask governor to file affidavit and can’t issue notice.
  • Bench: Is this your interpretation that governor action amenable but the governor as individual not answerable to court?
  • Rohatgi: 
    • Yes. Governor can’t be stopped to do his job. It is unheard of.
    • Supreme Court can reduce time period from 15 to 10 or 7 days for BJP to prove majority.

_____________________________________________________________________________

  • Bench: Swearing in will go on.
  • Singhvi: Don’t stay the swearing-in but defer it for two days. Defer swearing-in for at least till 4.30 and ask Mr Yeddyurappa to produce the letter he gave to the governor.
  • Bench: This petition is a subject of hearing later on.

Supreme Court issued notice to BS Yeddyurappa and other respondent’s and listed the matter for further hearing on 18.05.2018. The Court, in it’s order, said:

“it is necessary to peruse the letters dated 15th May, 2018 and 16th May, 2018 submitted by the respondent No.3 to the Governor which find a mention in the communication dated16th May, 2018 of the Hon’ble Governor.”

Without passing any order staying the oath ceremony of the new Karanataka Chief Minsiter, the Court said:

“In case, he is given oath in the meantime, that shall be subject to further orders of this Court and final outcome of the writ petition.”

[Dr. G. Parmeshwara v. Union of India, WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) Diary No.19482/2018, order dated 17.05.2018]

(With inputs from NDTV)

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The special bench of Jagdish Singh Khehar, CJ and Ranjan Gogoi and R.K. Agrawal, JJ refused to stay the swearing in ceremony of Manohar Parrikar as the Chief Minister of Goa and the asked Mridula Sinha, the Governor of the State to conduct a floor test on 16.03.2017 to determine whether the Chief Minister administered the oath of office, has support of the majority.

As per the result of the electoral process in the State of Goa which was declared on 11.03.2017, the BJP Legislature Party had the support of 21 MLAs out of the 40 elected members. However, the leader of the Congress Legislature Party had alleged that the support in favour of the BJP is a mis-representation of fact.

The bench hence, said that the instant sensitive and contentious issue raised on behalf of the petitioner, can be resolved by a simple direction, requiring the holding of a floor test at the earliest. The holding of the floor test would remove all possible ambiguities, and would result in giving the democratic process, the required credibility.

It was directed that all pre-requisite formalities for holding a floor test, including the formalities   required to be completed by the Election Commission, be completed by 15.03.2017.  [Chandrakant Kavlekar v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 240, order dated 14.03.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

SUPREME COURT: Putting an end to the Uttarakhand Assembly crisis, the bench of Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh, J.J., allowed Harish Chandra Singh Rawat to assume the office of Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. On 09.05.2016, the Court had ordered a floor test wich was observed by the Principal Secretary, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs, and Secretary, Legislative Assembly. As a result of the voting, except by the 9 disqualified members of Legislative Assembly, Harish Rawat obtained 33 out of 61 votes. The Court granted liberty to the Union of India to revoke the proclamation of President’s Rule in the State of Uttarakhand in course of the day.

Regarding the issue of justifiability of the proclamation of President’s Rule that was made on 27.03.2016 which was annulled by the impugned order passed by the High Court, the Court said that the said issue will remain alive as it is required to be scrutinized whether within the scope of judicial review, such a finding could have been arrived at or for that matter whether the opinion arrived at by the President of India to proclaim the President’s Rule at the relevant point of time was justified or not.[ UNION OF INDIA v. HARISH CHANDRA SINGH RAWAT, Special Leave to Appeal No. 11567/2016, decided on 11.05.2016]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: While deciding the issue that whether the Speaker of the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly followed the principles of natural justice, and whether the criteria enshrined in Para. 2 (1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution was met while disqualifying nine rebel MLAs of Indian National Congress (INC), the bench of U.C Dhyani, J., dismissing the petitions, observed that from the facts and the documents presented before this Court, it is clear that the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly did not violate the principles of natural justice and in undue haste, did not disqualify the rebel MLAs. At the same time, the Court observed that by the conduct of the petitioners, it has been established that they had ‘voluntarily given up the membership of their political party’, thereby fulfilling the criteria of Para. 2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule.

The present petitions were filed against the Order dated 27.03.2016 issued by the Speaker of Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly disqualifying nine rebel MLAs of INC. The petitioners via their counsels C. A. Sundaram et al., argued that the Speaker showed undue haste while issuing the impugned Order thereby violating the principle of audi altrem partem.

The Court observed that the principles of natural justice cannot be put into a strait jacket. Relying on landmark decision of the Supreme Court on the same point, the Court stated that a quasi- judicial authority such as that of a Speaker is required to maintain a balance between ‘delayed justice’ and ‘hurried justice’. However there is nothing in the facts to show that the Speaker violated the principles of natural justice. Speaking of the criteria laid down on Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, the Court stated that while the petitioners beheld their act of defection to be an act of ‘dissent’, but for the Speaker the same amounted to fulfillment of the criteria laid down in Para. 2(1)(a) of Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. The Court also directed that the present decision of the Court shall “not come in the way of Speaker to review his own order, in accordance with law, if the petitioners are so advised to move for the same, on any of the grounds available to them in law.” [Subodh Uniyal v. Speaker Legislative Assembly, 2016 SCC OnLine Utt 465, decided on 09.05.2016]