The Supreme Court in a rare pre-dawn hearing on Thursday refused to stay BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in ceremony as Karnataka Chief Minister.
While hearing a joint petition filed by the Congress-JD-S alliance, the apex court, which commenced the hearing at 2.11 am and ended at 5.28 am, added that the government formation in Karnataka would be subject to the final outcome of the case before it.
“This Court is not passing any order staying the oath-taking ceremony of BS Yeddyurappa. 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,” the apex court said.
A special bench comprising Justices AK Sikri, SA Bobde and Ashok Bhushan asked the Centre to present the letters dated May 15 and 16 written by Yeddyurappa to Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala staking claim to form the government.
Despite Congress’ all efforts to stop the BJP from coming to power in Karnataka, the saffron party’s leader Yeddyurappa became the chief minister of the southern state for the third time. The oath-taking ceremony of Yeddyurappa was administered by Governor Vala.
Here is how the overnight drama unfolded:
#08:00 pm: Rumours of BJP forming the government: At 7.56 pm on Wednesday, BJP MLA Suresh Kumar tweeted that the Governor had invited the BJP to form the government. At 8.31 pm, Karnataka BJP’s official Twitter handle put out a tweet, confirming Yeddyurappa’s oath-taking ceremony. However, both the tweets were deleted minutes later. Earlier in the day, both the BJP and the Congress-JD(S) alliance had staked claims to form the government.
#08:30 pm: Congress cries foul: Terming Karnataka Governor’s decision to invite Yeddyurappa to form the government “tantamount to murdering democracy, trampling Constitution & disregarding all precedents”, Congress held a press conference. Senior Congress leaders P Chidambaram said that the Governor was walking on a perilous path which was illegal.
“Governor invites Mr Yeddyurappa to manufacture a majority in 15 days. Governor gives Mr Yeddyurappa 15 days to convert the number 104 into 111,” Chidambaram tweeted taking a swipe at the BJP and the Governor.
#09:30 pm: Governor Valubhai Vala’s formal invitation letter released: All the speculations ended after Governor Valubhai Vala’s formal invitation letter to Yeddyurappa released on Wednesday night. In the letter to Yeddyurappa, Governor said, “I am in receipt of your letter dated 16th May 2018 informing me that you have been elected as the leader of the BJP legislative party of Karnataka. I am also in receipt of your letter dated 15th May 2018 staking claim to form the government. I invite you to form the government and be sworn in as the chief minister of Karnataka.’’ The Governor also gave 15 days’ time to Yeddyurappa to prove majority on the floor of the house.
#11:20 pm: Congress knocks Supreme Court’s door: After the invite became official, the Congress accused the Karnataka Governor of “being biased” and moved the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the swearing-in ceremony. The apex court refused to stay the swearing-in ceremony but said that the government formation in Karnataka would be subject to the final outcome of the case before it.
Here are the highlights of the Supreme Court order refusing to stay the swearing-in of BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa in Karnataka:
1. A bench of Justices AK Sikri, S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan was specially convened at “odd hours” to hear the petition which challenges the Governor Vajubhai Vala’s communication to Yeddyurappa to be sworn in as CM.
2. The bench noted that it is necessary to peruse the letters dated May 15 and May 16 submitted by Yeddyurappa to Governor for claiming stake for government formation.
3. It requested Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre and Yeddyurappa to produce these letters on next hearing tomorrow at 10.30 am.
4. The court made it clear that its order allowing swearing-in and government formation by the BJP in Karnataka is subject to the outcome of the case before it.
5. It also issued notices to the Karnataka government and Yeddyurappa as it was clarified by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi that he was appearing for three BJP MLAs—Govind M Karjol, C M Udasi and Basavaraj Bommai.
(With inputs from agencies)