New Delhi, May 19: The Supreme Court on Saturday said BJP MLA KG Bopaiah will remain the pro tem speaker and ordered the live telecast of the crucial floor test in Karnataka Assembly.
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea filed by the Congress and the JD-S challenging Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision to appoint K.G. Bopaiah, a relatively junior MLA, as the pro-tem Speaker of the assembly.
Speaking to media after the Court order, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said “Most important objective was to establish transparency. Since the statement has come from ASG that live feed of proceedings would be given, we hope and trust there would be fairness. I have no doubt that the victory would be of Congress and JD(S)”.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal appeared for Congress & JD(S), Noted Lawyer Ram Jethmalani also present. While AG KK Venugopal & ASG Tushar Mehta along with Sr Advocate Mukul Rohatgi defended the appointment of Pro tem speaker.
A bench of Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan is hearing the plea.
Advocate Dev Dutt Kamat, who has filed the application, told media that the top court has passed scriptures against Bopaiah for acting in a partisan manner and disqualifying MLAs who had earlier revolted against then Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.
Bopaiah is to preside over the floor test on Saturday to ascertain whether newly-appointed Chief Minister Yeddyurappa enjoys a majority support in the house.
Yesterday, in the evening, a team of Congress leaders arrived at the Supreme Court to file the plea.
The Congress has contended that Bopaiah is not the senior-most member in the newly-elected House and according to the parliamentary convention, it is only the most senior MLA in terms of number of times he has been elected to the Assembly who can be a pro-tem Speaker.
The party had alleged Bopaiah’s appointment was made “with the sole intent of manufacturing a majority out of minority for Yeddyurappa”.
“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)”, he told reporters.
After the Court’s order, Speaking to media Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “It’s for the first time I’m thankful that the court has taken decision during the time of holiday. The Apex Court allowed live videography of the floor test. This will solve our concerns.”
The Supreme Court said ” Live broadcast of floor test would be the best way to ensure transparency of proceedings and it would address grievances of opposition parties”.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Governor, tells SC that live recording of floor test would do live broadcast to ensure transparency. Responding to this the top cpurt said “Let all channel be given access to broadcast live”
J. Sikri said the Convention of senior most is not the law
To this Tushar Mehta stated Floor test will be live telecast by local channels. What more transparency do they need?
Kapil Sibal: Let him take the oath. But as far as floor test is concerned you shud pass an order under Art. 142, J. Sikri: If U want us to review our order and do not allow Boppaiah to oversee trust vote, then who will do the trust vote? Who will preside over the trust vote ?
J. Bobde to Sibal, You are in a zone of consideration. You want us to test the suitability of the PT Speaker but you do not want to postpone the test.
Upon hearing Kapil Sibal’s arguments, Justice Bobde said, “If you want us to review the order, we should postpone the floor test. We declined to pass an order in that midnight hearing because we want to hear.” However, Sibal appealed that the trust vote be not delayed.
Sibal stated Bopaiah can be restrained from conducting the floor test, which can be done today.
Following this, Supreme Court said it will have to issue a notice to pro-tem Speaker and postpone floor test if Bopaiah’s appointment is to be examined.
K G Bopaiah was rapped for the malafide and the Apex Court came down heavily upon him for manipulating the majority in favour of BS Yeddyurappa, argued Sibal asking to dismiss Bopaiah as Pro-tem speaker.
Responding to this, Justice SA Bobde said ‘There’ve been instances where senior most MLA wasn’t appointed as Pro tem speaker. Kapil Sibal replied ‘KG Bopaiah has different history. His decision of disqualification was set aside by this Court earlier.’
He further stated, ‘Long-standing convention has been broken after the appointment of Bopaiah’, adding ‘Even SC has ratified this practice in two judgments’.
Sibal told the bench ‘The individual appointed must be the senior most member of the House which is a convention in the Parliament also.’
Kapil Sibal argues on behalf of Congress-JD(S), says “I want to apologise for troubling you again,” Sibal says, to which Justice Sikri replies, “That’s okay. We have to honour job.”