No stay on Yeddyurappa swearing-in after midnight battle in Supreme Court  

No stay on Yeddyurappa swearing-in after midnight battle in Supreme Court  
 

New Delhi, May 17 (IANS) Amid jockeying for power in Karnataka, the Supreme Court early on Thursday after a midnight hearing refused to stall the swearing-in of BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa as Karnataka’s new Chief Minister.

The court, however, sought the communications which Yeddyurappa had written to Karnataka Governor informing him his election as BJP legislature party.

Yeddyurappa would take the oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on Thursday at 9.00 a.m. at Raj Bhavan.

The court said that the swearing-in is subject to the final outcome of the matter before it.

The bench headed by Justice A.K. Sikri, while seeking Yeddyurappa’s response on the petition by Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) seeking to stall his swearing-in, has directed further hearing of the matter at 10.30 a.m. on Friday.

During the hearing, that commenced at 2.20 a.m. and concluded with the court passing order at 5.30 in the morning, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal was asked to produce the letters which the court was told are with the Karnataka Governor.

The top court heard a joint petition by the Congress and JD-S challenging Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision inviting Yeddyurappa to form a new government in the state despite having 104 MLAs — eight short of simple majority.

The court also issued a notice to Yeddyurappa, asking them file a reply even former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for the BJP said how long Yeddyurappa should be given to prove majority could be debated after two days.

The petition was filed late on Wednesday night after Governor Vala invited Yeddyurappa for an oath taking ceremony on Thursday at 9 a.m. and gave him days to prove his majority in the legislative assembly.

The Congress and the JD-S, who formed a hurriedly stitched post-poll alliance after a hung assembly verdict to claim a majority of 116 members in the new assembly, called the Governor’s decision “unconstitutional”.

“The BJP has only 104 MLAs, the Governor invited Yeddyurappa to form government in an unconstitutional manner,” senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for the Congress, told the three-member bench of Justices A.K. Sikri, S.A. Bobde and Ashok Bhushan.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra constituted the bench shortly after midnight on Wednesday to hear the matter in court number six of the Supreme Court.

Singhvi argued in the full pack court room and talked about occasions when post-poll alliances have been called despite single largest party.

He cited the instances of Goa and Manipur where the Congress had emerged as the single largest party sans majority but post-alliances were invited to form governments.

He said in the case of Karnataka, it was unheard of a Chief Minister who does not have a majority was given 15 days to conduct floor test.

“There is only one way a party which got 104 will get 113… I heard he asked for seven days, but the Governor gave 15 days. Elementary common sense and arithmetic against this kind of giving of time,” Singhvi said.

He said in Jharkhand in 2005, Goa in 2017 and in the Jagadambika Pal case in Uttar Pradesh, the court advanced the date of floor test from seven days to 48 hours.

“It is biggest license to poaching if Governor gives 15 days to the BJP to prove majority,” he said.

To this, the Justices Sikri, Bobde and Bhushan said they were wondering whether the Supreme Court can restrain a Governor that might lead to constitutional vacuum in a state.

They said that the general trend of the past Supreme Court judgements was not to issue injunction to Governor or to restrain Governor.

Singhvi responded: “It is not like restraining the Governor, who only acted in pursuance of the BJP letter. Act of swearing-in is less than they make it out to be.

“If President’s rule under Article 356 can be stayed by a court, why not this (decision to invite BJP and give 15 days for floor test) in which a Governor has exercised his discretion without the aid and advice of the Cabinet?”

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, in his argument said everything was in the realm of “speculation” as the entire matter was still “a grey area”.

Former AG Mukul Rohatgi who appeared for the BJP questioned the urgency of the matter to hear it at midnight.

“Will heavens fall if a person is sworn in in the morning?” he said.

Justice Sikri asked him to submit before the court how his side was claiming a majority in the House.

Venugopal intervened and said, “Everything is reversible. What is the great loss by waiting for 15 days.”

Justice Bobde countered: “That is the other point. Why wait for 15 days?”

Venugopal said it was the Governor’s decision and it was an area of darkness how Yeddyurappa was claiming to form the government.

“But let the swearing-in go on. This is a purely reversible situation.”

The court observed that it was “preposterous” to argue that before MLAs take oath they were not amenable to anti-defection law. “It means open invitation to horse-trading.”

“In a case like this where the opposite side is showing 117 MLAs support, how will you have 112?,” Justice Sikri asked Venugopal.

The case was still being heard till early morning on Thursday.

SC to hear Congress-JD-S plea at 1.45 a.m.

New Delhi, May 17 (IANS) The Supreme Court late on Wednesday decided to hear at 1.45 a.m the Congress-Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) plea challenging Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R. Vala’s decision to administer oath to BJP legislature party leader B.S. Yeddyurappa.

A bench comprising of Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan would hear the matter.

Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who is leading his party’s challenge, has reached the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the Karnataka Governor’s decision to administer oath to Yeddyurappa on Thursday morning at the Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru.

The media converged at the residence of Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra in anticipation of an urgent hearing on the matter.

After Karnataka Governor invited Yeddyurappa to form the new government in the state, the Congress approached the Chief Justice with plea challenging the Governor’s decision.

Congress moves SC for urgent hearing on Karnataka issue  

New Delhi, May 17 (IANS) The Congress has late on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court seeking late night hearing of its plea challenging Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R. Vala’s decision to administer oath to BJP legislature party leader B.S. Yeddyurappa on Thursday morning at the Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru.

The Secretary General of the top court along with other senior registrars reached the residence of the Chief Justice apparently to inform him about the Congress-Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) petition seeking an urgent hearing on the issue.

The media converged at the residence of Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra in anticipation of an urgent hearing on the matter.

After Karnataka Governor invited Yeddyurappa to form the new government in the state, the Congress approached the Chief Justice with plea challenging the Governor’s decision.

Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi led his party’s challenge.

The Congress said the Governor denigrated his office, trampled the Constitution and acted as a BJP puppet.

Yeddyurappa invited to form government, Congress calls Governor BJP ‘stooge’  

New Delhi, May 17 (IANS) As Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R. Vala on Wednesday invited BJP legislature party leader B.S. Yeddyurappa to form the new government in the state, the Congress said the Governor denigrated his office by acting as a “BJP stooge”.

The Governor has no moral and constitutional right to hold the office even for a day for shaming his office, the party said, adding that an “illegitimate and immoral government” will be taking oath under B.S. Yeddyurappa.

The party said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah have sanctioned “encounter of the Constitution, law and all precedents at the hands of Governor of Karnataka”.

“Vajubhai Vala denigrated the Governor’s office, trampled upon the Constitution, abused the law and acted as a BJP puppet. He chose to serve his masters in the BJP rather than serve the Constitution,” tweeted Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

“The action of Karnataka Governor, who acts as a stooge of BJP taking orders from BJP headquarters, Prime Minister and BJP President rather than the Constitution of India, is immoral, illegal and unconstitutional,” said Surjewala.

“The Governor has failed utterly to discharge his duties as the custodian of the Constitution.”

The BJP has launched “Operation Lotus” from the Raj Bhavan by thrashing India’s Constitution and murdering democracy, he said.

“It is a black letter day for India’s constitutional norms and democracy.”

He said the letter of the Governor clearly established that even he does not believe that Yeddyurappa and the BJP have majority.

“We want to ask Shah and Modi if the post-poll alliance with majority doesn’t have the right to form the government, then why did they form the government in Goa, with less MLAs than the Congress?

“If two parties can’t form the government in post-poll alliance, then how did they form a government in Meghalaya and Manipur?” he added.

He said the Governor has no discretion or power but to invite the post-poll coalition with clear majority to form the government, citing Supreme Court judgments in the Rameshwar Prasad case and the Goa case.

But, the lust for power supersedes the Constitution, he said mockingly.

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