Supreme Court Dismisses Congess Plea Against Bopaiah

12:32 PM, Saturday, May 19th, 2018

BopaiahNew Delhi: With the Congress knocking the Supreme Court doors twice within 72 hours to ensure a “fair floor test” in Karnataka, a three-judge bench of the apex court has turned down the party’s plea against the appointment of BJP MLA KG Bopaiah as the pro tem (temporary) speaker.

The Supreme Court also ordered the live telecast of Assembly proceedings to ensure “transparency” and “solve all problems”.

A bench of Justices AK Siri, SA Bobde and Ashok Bhushan ordered that there would be no change in the appointment of the pro tem speaker and that Secretary General of the Assembly will “ensure smooth proceedings”.

The court also made it clear that no order can be passed on KG Bopaiah without hearing him. “We can’t pass an order against Bopaiah without hearing him. You are in a zone of contradiction. You want to militate against the pro tem speaker but not willing to give him time to respond. We will hear you but then floor test will have to be delayed,” said the bench.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had suggested that the proceedings could be live telecast to allay any doubt. The apex court ordered that “the live telecast feed be made available to all channels” too.

As the hearing concluded, Justice Sikri expressed his desire to let the court enjoy the summer holidays. “Now let us enjoy our holiday,” said Justice Sikri.

Drafted by advocates Devadatt Kamat and Javedur Rahman and settled by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the application had alleged that Bopaiah, a junior MLA, has a “dubious” and controversial record of passing biased disqualification orders.

The application pointed out that the Bopaiah had been severely criticized and strictures had been passed against him by the Supreme Court.

“Disqualification orders passed by him were also set aside and as being vitiated with mala fides and undue haste,” it said.

The application contended that the binding and long-standing parliamentary convention is to appoint the senior most member of the house as the pro tem speaker.

During the hearing on Sautrday, Kapil Sibal read out the Supreme Court’s 2011 judgment criticising Bopaiah’s role as pro tem speaker in disqualifying a dozen MLAs during Yeddyurappa’ s role.

However, the SC said that it will have to issue a notice to the pro tem speaker and postpone the floor test if Bopaiah’s appointment was to be examined. Sibal contended that Bopaiah could be restrained from conducting the floor test which can be done today.

Sibal had also argued that if the pro tem speaker administers oath, then he has no problem, but requested that the pro tem speaker should not provide vote of confidence.

“We granted midnight hearing because we wanted to hear BS Yeddyurappa but now you want the pro tem speaker to go. How can we appoint the pro tem speaker? It can’t be the law to direct the Governor to appoint somebody as pro tem speaker. Senior-most member can’t even be called as a convention because there have been other examples too. And then this convention hasn’t even been given legal sanctity,” said the court.

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