Supreme Court allows live telecast of Karnataka floor test, Bopaiah to remain pro-tem speaker
The Supreme Court of India turned down a plea by the Congress and the JD(S) challenging Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala's decision to appoint KG Bopaiah as the pro-tem Speaker but allowed a live telecast of the trust vote today.
"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," the top court said.
"Live broadcast of floor test would be the best way to ensure transparency of proceedings," the Supreme Court said.
During the hearing, Congress leader and counsel for the party and the JD(S) Kapil Sibal told the court that the individual appointed as pro-tem Speaker must be the senior most member of the House which is a convention in the Parliament as well.
"Long-standing convention has been broken after the appointment of Bopaiah," Kapil Sibal said, adding, "Even the Supreme Court has ratified this practice in two judgments."
Justice SA Bobde replied stating that there had been instances where the senior most MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) wasn't appointed as Pro tem speaker.
Kapil Sibal replied stating, "KG Bopaiah has different history. His decision of disqualification was set aside by this Court earlier."
The Congress leader also asked the top court to restrain Bopaiah but not to delay the floor test.
The Supreme Court judge replied stating that the court could not restrain Bopaiah without hearing him.
The Congress and the JD(S) were also representated by Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani was also present in the court.
The BJP government was represented by Attorney General KK Venugopal and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta along with senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi.
The Supreme Court had yesterday asked the BS Yeddyurappa-led BJP government to conduct a floor test on Saturday to prove their majority in the Karnataka assembly.
The top court was hearing a petition challenging Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala's invitation to BS Yeddyurappa to become chief minister.
The floor test will take place at 4 pm today.
The Supreme Court also said that oath should be administered to all MLAs (Members of Legislative Assembly) before the floor test and BS Yeddyurappa cannot take any policy decisions till the trust vote.
In the May 12 polls, the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 members, while Congress secured 78, the JD(S) 37 and others three.
The BJP insists it should stake claim to form the government by virtue of being the single largest party while the Congress, which has struck a post-poll alliance with the JD(S), says they have 117 seats, six more than the half-way mark of 111.