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Supreme Court orders floor test in Karnataka Assembly at 4pm tomorrow

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, May 18: The three-judge Supreme Court bench on Friday ordered a floor test in the Karnataka assembly at 4 pm tomorrow.

The court was hearing the petition filed by the Congress-JD(S) combine against the decision of Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala to invite BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa to form the government in the state.

Noted lawyer Kapil Sibal appeared for Congress-JDS along with Sr Advocate AM Singhvi, Sr Advocate Ram Jethmalani. While Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi represented the BJP.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani had also filed a petition to have an urgent hearing on the same.

Yesterday, the Congress-JD(S) moved fresh plea in Supreme Court challenging Governor’s decision to nominate an Anglo-Indian MLA to Assembly.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde, and Ashok Bhushan heard the petitions, and also examined the letters dated May 15 and 16, written by Yeddyurappa to Governor Vala, staking claim to form the government.

In one of the most bitterly fought polls in recent times, the voting for 222 out of 224 constituencies took place on May 12. The major twist came in after the poll verdict that led to a hung assembly – with the BJP winning 104 seats, Congress 78 and JD(S) clinching 37 seats.

Despite Congress and JD-(S) forming an alliance and being in a strong position to form the government with enough seats together (115), Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R. Vala on Wednesday invited the BJP to form the new government.

Following the governor’s decision the Congress filed a plea in the Supreme Court on late Wednesday after which a rare midnight hearing by the three-judge bench of justice A.K. Sikri, justice S.A. Bobde and justice Ashok Bhushan was conducted that ran for hours.

After a midnight hearing, the apex court refused to stop the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa as Karnataka’s new Chief Minister.

However, the Court sought the communications which Yeddyurappa had written to Karnataka Governor informing him his election as BJP legislature party.

“The swearing-in is subject to the final outcome of the matter before it”, the court stated.

Yeddyurappa took the oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka on Thursday at the Raj Bhavan.

Updates:

The Court Concluded the hearing by directing  floor test in Karnataka Assembly at 4 pm on Sturday.

Justice Sikri: We have to balance the equity. Balance can’t be one day submits Mukul Rohatagi. Ram Jethmalani submits that law has to be right. In this case governor has not acted properly.

Why immediate floor test, need reasonable time for MLAs to reach and vote freely: Mukul Rohatgi

A pro term speaker should be appointed and no Anglo Indian MLA should be nominated till the trust vote, said Kapil Sibal

What we ask is immediate floor test: Kapil Sibal for Kumaraswamy

Karnataka Governor hasn’t received any Letter from Kumaraswamy with all Cong and JDS MLAs signature: ASG Tushar Mehta for BJP

We question the signatures submitted by Kumaraswamy, floor test is the only option: Mukul Rohatgi

We are ready to hear you but what needed now is a floor test soon to test the majority, stated Justice AK Sikri.

Meanwhile, Kapil Sibal questioned the decision of the Governor to invite Yeddyurappa to form the Govt. In response to this SC said its a debatable one. Sibal replied, “No, its already settled one”.

We will make sure and give necessary orders to give security for all MLAs to reach house and vote in the trust vote, said the Supreme Court.

We agree for floor test tomorrow, Singhvi told the apex court and sought security for the MLAs.

During the hearing, Abhishek Manu Singhvi argued ‘Yeddyurappa claimed support, but he does not have letters of support from these MLAs or it is only his oral submissions.’

BJP is just saying they have the majority without any specific number and names whereas we had given the names and numbers, how could Governor had invited Yeddyurappa to form the Govt, stated AM Singhvi

Floor test is the best option, let the larger question on law how should Governor invite a person to form the Govt can be settled here later: Supreme Court

Even then who should be given the chance first, Congress and JDS should be given the chance to prove majority in the house first: AM Singhvi

Only alternative is a floor test for tomorrow, can’t give more time, said Justice AK Sikri.

It’s just the number game, who enjoys the majority should be invited to form the Govt, said Justice AK Sikri.

Former Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka and BJP MLA R Ashoka filed an intervening application in Karnataka government formation matter.

While Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi who is representing the BJP said we will show the numbers (majority) where it is required, why should we show the numbers in the Supreme Court.

Rohatgi told the apex court that we are confident that we will get the majority, we might even get the support from few Congress and JDS MLAs, can’t reveal anything more at this stage.

Supreme Court asked Mukul Rohatgi to produce the letters, BS Yeddyurappa wrote to the Governor on Wednesday.

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India

BJP leader shot dead in Mandsaur

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gun shot

BJP leader and Mandsaur Municipal Corporation President, Prahlad Bandhwar, was shot dead in Nai Abaadi, Mandsaur on Thursday. Police has launched a search operation for the miscreants.

SL Borsi, SHO Kotwali police station, said, “We have got a name, police is searching for him. A police team has gone for the same. They had a land dispute.”

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Army commander visits forward positions in Poonch

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india-pakistan-border army ceasefire

Jammu, Jan 17 : Amid heightened tension on the Line of Control (LoC), the Northern Army Commander on Thursday visited forward positions in Poonch district.

Defence spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand said, “Lt General Ranbir Singh, Army Commander, Northern Command, accompanied by the White Knight Corps Commander, Lt general Paramjit Singh visited forward posts of Poonch Sector to review the operational preparedness and the prevailing security situation.

“During the visit to the sector, the Army Commander was briefed by the commanders on the ground about the current operational situation, prevailing security dynamics and the preparedness of the formations in dealing with the same.

“The Army Commander was also briefed on the actions being taken to ensure a robust counter-infiltration and counter-terrorist grid to enable continued peace and stability in the region.

“The Army Commander interacted with the soldiers and complimented them for their unwavering dedication to duty.

Tension has been prevailing along the LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts due to frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan.

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JNU sedition row BJP creation, says ex-ABVP member

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JNU Protest

New Delhi, Jan 17 : A former ABVP member has said the chargesheet filed against the 10 JNU students, including Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid, is the brainchild of BJP and claimed that some ABVP members had themselves raised “Pakistan Zindabad” slogan on the JNU campus in 2016 which led to the slapping of sedition charges.

Pradeep Narwal, who left the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) after the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) sedition row in 2016, told IANS that the entire issue is politically-motivated and has been raised to benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming general election.

The entire controversy was fomented by the ABVP in 2016 to divert the attention from the University of Hyderabad student Rohith Vemula’s suicide.

“This was a media trial, then, and this is a media trial, now. The controversy was created by the BJP to dilute the suicide of Rohith Vemula, who was forced to end his life by Bandaru Dattatreya (then Labour Minister from Telangana), who escalated the matter to the HRD Ministry, while the matter should have been dealt with at the Vice Chancellor level,” Narwal said.

He also suggested that certain members of the ABVP and its sympathisers were also seen among the students in the video grab which captured “Pakistan Zindabad” slogan — the slogan purported to be the heart of the sedition charge in the chargesheet — being raised.

“Hence, either the video is doctored, as I have been saying all along, or the chargesheet should also be filed against those ABVP members,” he said, adding that he was frequently threatened and abused by the ABVP members for days after his leaving the group.

Vemula committed suicide three years back on this day in his room on the University of Hyderabad campus.

In his suicide note, he had narrated how he was being victimised for coming from a low caste and how casteism was rife in the university. His death sent thousands of university students across India into agitation, who waged several protests against the “institutional discrimination” at places of higher education.

Narwal, who joined the Congress six months back, said the chargesheet has been filed to create a “narrative” before the general election on the basis of “doctored videos”.

“If due process is not followed in this case, it would be the biggest fraud on democracy,” he said.

The Delhi Police on Monday filed a chargesheet naming Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and seven Kashmiri students, mentioning that anti-national slogans were raised by them at an event held at Sabarmati Dhaba on the JNU campus in February 2016.

The police have cited video footage made by ABVP members, among others, as evidence.

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