Karnataka Elections 2018:Supreme Court orders floor test in Karnataka on May 19 at 4 pm.
Key Highlights :
* Pro tem speaker will conduct the floor test.
* All legislators will be sworn in before the floor test.
* The court will hear Congress-JD(S)’s plea on the Karnataka Governor’s decision to invite BJP to form government in 10 weeks.
The Supreme Court today directed BS Yeddyurappa led Bharatiya Janata Party to prove its majority in a floor test in the Karnataka assembly at 4 p.m. tomorrow.
The bench asked Yeddyurappa, the interim chief minister, to not take any executive decisions till then. The court also barred the nomination of an Anglo-Indian MLA, Vinisha Nero, by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala till the BJP is able to prove its majority.
The apex court’s order came on a petition by the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Indian National Congress, which had challenged the governor’s decision to invite Yeddyurappa to form the government after election results threw up a hung assembly.
Yeddyurappa took oath as chief minister yesterday, shortly after the Supreme Court in a middle-of-the-night hearing refused to stay the swearing-in but said it remained subject to the final outcome of the petition.
Time given for the floor test is too short, former Attorney General of India Soli Sorabjee told after the order. At least a week’s time should have been given, he said.
The apex court had directed Attorney General of India KK Venugopal, appearing for the BJP, to produce the letter written by Yeddyurappa to the governor. The letter stated the number of legislators supporting the BJP.
The BJP emerged as the single-largest outfit in the southern state but fell short of a majority. The saffron party with 104 seats is eight short of 112 to cross the halfway mark to form majority. The Congress and JD(S), which announced a post-poll tie-up, won 78 and 37 seats, respectively.
Both contenders met the state’s governor on Tuesday to make their case. Late on Wednesday evening, Vala is said to have issued a letter to the BJP inviting it to form government. The letter stated the BJP could decide on the date and time of the swearing-in ceremony and had 15 days to prove its majority on the floor of the assembly. That was seven more days than the BJP had reportedly asked for.
Arguing on behalf of Mr Yeddyurappa, former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said, “There should be a reasonable time, not one day, for a floor test.”
The judges replied, “There are past precedents fixing such short time period for a floor test.”
One of the arguments that Mr Rohatgi put up was: “Congress and Janata Dal Secular lawmakers are locked up outside the state. They have to come. So give more time.”
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who moved the petition challenging Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Valla’s decision to invite the BJP to form government despite it being short of the majority mark, said his party was ready for a floor test tomorrow.
Mr Rohatgi submitted Mr Yeddyurappa’s letters to the governor staking claim to power. The court had asked to see the letters and what the BJP had said about numbers in an all-night hearing on Wednesday.
The Karnataka election was held on May 12. The results were announced on May 15.
The BJP won 104 seats in the Karnataka election, eight short of the majority mark. The Congress emerged second but quickly tied up with the Janata Dal Secular (JDS) and extended support to its leader HD Kumaraswamy. Together, the two have 117 lawmakers.
Mr Rohatgi said a floor test was the only option to check who had the numbers to form government, accusing the Congress and the JDS of forging signatures.
“We will show numbers where required, why should we show the numbers in the Supreme Court?” said Mr Rohatgi.
The court said there were “two options” — a hearing on the governor’s action or a floor test tomorrow.
“It is a number game, whoever enjoys the majority should be invited,” said Justice AK Sikri, who headed the three-judge bench.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that the Supreme Court’s order vindicated the party’s stand that Vala acted unconstitutionally.Today’s Supreme Court order, vindicates our stand that Governor Vala acted unconstitutionally.The BJP’s bluff that it will form the government, even without the numbers, has been called out by the court,he tweeted.Stopped legally, they will now try money and muscle, to steal the mandate,Gandhi added in the tweet.
Welcoming the Supreme Court order for a floor test, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa today asserted he was 100 per cent confident that he would prove the majority in the state Assembly.We will abide by the Supreme Court verdict.we have got 100 per cent support and cooperation to prove the majority,” Yeddyurappa told reporters here soon after the apex court’s order.Amidst all these political games, we will prove our majority tomorrow. We will obey the Supreme Court order,” said Yeddyurappa, who faces an uphill task rustling up the 112 MLAs required to cross the floor test hurdle.Will discuss with chief secretary and call for Assembly session tomorrow.We are 100 percent confident that we will prove full majority he added.
In a setback for Congress party, Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala on Friday appointed BJP MLA KG Bopaiah as Pro-Tem Speaker, ahead of floor test tomorrow.
The Supreme Court has ordered a floor test in the Karnataka Assembly at 4 PM tomorrow, reducing the 15-day window given by the Governor to BJP Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa to prove majority.