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Setback to Congress: SC refuses to stay swearing-in of BJP Yeddyurappa

Team SoOLEGAL 17 May 2018 10:45am

Setback to Congress: SC refuses to stay swearing-in of BJP Yeddyurappa

In a huge setback to the Congress party, the Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stop the swearing-in of BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa’s as Karnataka chief minister in an overnight hearing on a petition by the Congress-Janata Dal Secular JD(S).

The Congress-JD(S) combine petitioned the SC against Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala, for inviting Yeddyurappa to form government, saying it has the signatures of 116 newly elected lawmakers while the latter has only 105.

The petition was heard by a three-judge Supreme Court bench of Justices A.K. Sikri, S.A. Bobde and Ashok Bhushan.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who had filed the petition on behalf of the Congress-JDS alliance, argued before the three-judge SC bench that the BJP could not claim to get a majority unless the party triggers defections. To this, the bench said “this would be covered by anti-defection law”.

However, the government's top law officer, KK Venugopal suggested that this may not be the case. He further added, "Defection is one member crosses to the other party. Defection law won't apply before elected member is sworn in as MLA”.

Although, the Supreme Court ruled out that it won’t restrain the swearing in of Mr. Yeddyurappa, but it wasn't convinced by Mr. Venugopal’s argument. "You mean before swearing-in MLAs can switch sides?" the court asked.

Mukul Rohatgi, another government’s top law officer defending the BJP, said he wondered why the petition was being heard at night. “Will heavens fall if a person is sworn in the morning?” he asked. However, Justice Sikri asked him to provide evidence how his side was claiming a majority.

How, in a case like this, you (BJP) will have more numbers whereas the other side (Congress-JDU) has given signatures of 116 MLAs to Governor?", asked Justice Sikri in response to Rohatgi representing BJP lawmakers.

Mukul Rohatgi, then asked the SC bench to dismiss the Congress petition, insisting that the court could not stop the governor's decision. The Supreme Court, in line with Rohatgi’s arguments, submitted that the swearing-in ceremony of Mr. Yeddyurappa should not be stopped and that the floor test should be allowed to take place.

But the top court also made it clear that the government formation in Karnataka would be subject to its final order on the Congress-JD(S) petition before it.

The court will now hear the matter on May 18.

Highlights:

  1. Congress challenged Yeddyurappa swearing-in as chief minister of Karnataka in the top court following – a notification that was issued by Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala inviting Yeddyurappa to form a government.
  2. The SC bench directed that the letter sent by the BJP to Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala for forming the state government be placed before it. “The letter is necessary to decide the matter”, the court said.
  3. “We can’t speculate what kind of majority has been claimed until we see the letters”, observed Justice Bobde.
Tagged: SC   BS Yeddyurappa   Janata Dal Secular   Congress   Karnataka Governor   AK Sikri   SA Bobde   Ashok Bhushan  
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