Ahead of the floor test in the Karnataka Assembly on Saturday at 4 pm, the Supreme Court has rejected a petition by the Congress-JD(S) challenging the appointment of K.G. Bopaiah as pro-tem speaker.
The court said he will continue to be the pro-tem speaker.
At the moment, the oath ceremony is being conducted by pro-tem speaker K.G. Bopaiah in the state assembly of Karnataka and in the evening he will conduct the floor test to determine whether the Bharatiya Janata Party has the majority in the state assembly.
The Supreme Court said, “Law can’t direct the governor to appoint a particular person as pro-tem speaker. Unless convention becomes the legal norm, it can’t be enforced by the court.”
Justice S.A. Bobde, during the hearing, countered the Congress argument about the existence of the convention of electing the senior-most legislator as the pro-tem speaker.
“There’ve been instances where senior most MLA wasn’t appointed as pro-tem speaker,” he said.
To this Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Congress-JD(S) alliance, said, “KG Bopaiah has a different history. His decision of disqualification (of rebel BJP MLAs in 2010) was set aside by this court earlier.”
Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal appeared for Congress and JD(S). Senior Advocate Ram Jethmalani was also present in the hearing. Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta along with senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi were present to defend the appointment of the pro-tem speaker.
A three-judge bench, comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and S. A. Bobde and headed by Justice A.K. Sikri, heard the petition.
The petition had claimed that the appointment made by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R. Vala was “unconstitutional” and requested the apex court to set it aside.