The political ardour in Karnataka is gaining pace as the battle for the southern state--the gateway to South India--is getting murkier with each passing day. Amidst the high-pitch political dramas that have been unfolding since the day the assembly results were declared, the Supreme Court has ordered a floor test for the BJP government in the Karnataka Assembly at 4 pm on Saturday.
BJP's BS Yeddyurappa was sworn in by the governor as the 23rd Chief Minister on May 17 and has to take a trust vote on Saturday.
Governor Vajubhai Vala has appointed BJP MLA KG Bopaiah as the Pro-Tem Speaker to conduct the crucial test, but the Congress on Friday night moved the Supreme Court challenging his decision.
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice AK Sikri heard the matter at 10:30 am on Saturday and rejected the Congress's plea challenging KG Bopaiah's appointment as the pro-tem speaker to conduct the floor test at 4 pm.
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra decided to list the matter before the bench, which also comprises Justices SA Bobde and Ashok Bhusha.
Here are the Highlights on SC hearing:
# 11:32 AM: The SC heard the pleas of the Congress, all their pleas have been rejected. The desperate attempts of Congress to remove him from the post has failed. I think they are scared & did not even want a floor test in the first place: Mukul Rohatgi, BJP.
# 11:26 AM: Most important objective was to establish transparency. Since the statement has come from ASG that live feed of proceedings would be given, we hope & trust there would be fairness. I have no doubt that the victory would be of Congress & JD(S): Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Congress.
# 11:13 AM: Supreme Court rejects Congress-JD(S) plea challenging the appointment of pro tem speaker KG Bopaiah, he will continue to be pro-tem speaker.
# 11:10 AM: Supreme Court says 'Live broadcast of floor test would be the best way to ensure transparency of proceedings.' Read the full story here.
# 11:07 AM: SC says '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'.
Hearing on Congress-JD(S) plea challenging appointment of pro tem speaker KG Bopaiah: SC says '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'— ANI (@ANI) May 19, 2018
# 11:04 AM: Kapil Sibal argues 'I am requesting that don't allow KG Bopaiah to take the floor test'.
# 10:56 AM: Justice SA Bobde says 'There've been instances where senior most MLA wasn't appointed as Pro tem speaker. Kapil Sibal replies 'KG Bopaiah has different history. His decision of disqualification was set aside by this Court earlier.'
# 10:53 AM: Kapil Sibal says, 'Long-standing convention has been broken after the appointment of Bopaiah', adds 'Even SC has ratified this practice in two judgments'.
Hearing on Congress-JD(S) plea challenging appointment of pro tem speaker KG Bopaiah: Kapil Sibal says, 'Long standing convention has been broken after the appointment of Bopaiah', adds 'Even SC has ratified this practice in two judgments'.— ANI (@ANI) May 19, 2018
# 10:45 AM: Kapil Sibal says 'The individual appointed must be the senior most member of the House which is a convention in the Parliament also.'
# 10:44 AM: Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal to appear for Congress & JD(S), Sr Advocate Ram Jethmalani also present; AG KK Venugopal & ASG Tushar Mehta along with Sr Advocate Mukul Rohatgi to defend the appointment of Pro tem speaker.
# 10:41 AM: Hearing on Congress-JD(S) plea challenging the appointment of pro tem speaker KG Bopaiah, begins in the Supreme Court. #Karnataka
# 07:14 AM: Supreme Court to hear Congress's plea regarding the appointment of pro tem speaker KG Bopaiah today at 10:30 am
The Congress-JD(S) combine filed the plea through advocate Dev Dutt Kamath and placed in the evening before the SC registrar. The apex court had pointed out some defects, which were later corrected.
The application was submitted late at night at the registry and the registrar of the Supreme Court rushed to the residence of the CJI for directions on the listing of the matter.
In the petition, the Congress-JD-S combine has demanded setting aside of the decision to make Bopaiah as the pro tem Speaker stating it was against the rule and as per the tradition the senior most leader is supposed to hold that position.
The apex court was also requested to have the live telecast of the entire floor test procedure and conducting of the same through "a 'division' into separate and segregated lobbies so that the persons in the different lobbies can be counted in a transparent manner."
The Supreme Court directed the floor test a day after the Congress filed a petition, challenging Governor Vajubhai Vala's controversial invitation to Yeddyurappa to become the chief minister of Karnataka.