Defenders of democracy

Thu, 17 May 2018

Defenders of democracy

The Governor of Karnataka released a letter last night inviting BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa to form the government. He has been sworn in this morning as Karnataka’s new Chief Minister.  A petition filed by the Congress party against the Governor's move was heard by the Supreme Court in the early hours of Thursday. The apex court refused to stay the swearing-in, and set the next hearing for 10:30 am on Friday.

In his letter, the Governor of Karnataka, Vajubhai Vala, directed BS Yeddyurappa to prove a majority within fifteen days of taking office. Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi attempted to by-pass the Tenth Schedule of the Fifty-Second Amendment to the Constitution, known as the Anti-Defection Act, by arguing that the MLAs switching sides before taking the oath will not be in violation. Justice AK Sikri called this preposterous.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi representing the Congress argued that according to the Sarkaria Commission Guidelines, the largest party or group of parties should be the first to be invited by the Governor. Yet despite the BJP having insufficient seats to form a government and the Congress–JD(S) alliance in clear majority with, the Governor invited the BJP to form the government. Mr. Singhvi questioned the granting of 15 days for the floor test saying "Giving 15 days is encouraging unconstitutional sin of poaching." The SC has asked for the letter written by BS Yeddyurappa to the Governor and while it has not stayed the swearing in, it has held that it is subject to the outcome of the case.

Senior leaders of the Congress held a protest at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Vidhan Soudha in Bengaluru on Thursday morning to protest the Governor's action.