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Bopaiah to continue as pro-tem Speaker, conduct floor test says SC

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K G Bopaiah will continue as the pro-tem speaker and conduct the floor test at the Karnataka legislative assembly, the Supreme Court has said. The court while rejecting a petition challenging his appointment said that the proceedings will be recorded and telecast live.

The court said that the secretary of legislative assembly will record and provide live feed to local channels which will air the footage. The proceedings will be telecast live starting 11 am onwards the court also said. The court also said that other than oath taking and floor test there shall be no other agenda.

supreme court

The arguments began with Kapil Sibal challenging the appointment of Bopaiah. Starting with an apology for troubling the Bench on a Saturday, Sibal said that convention had been defied by appointing Bopaiah as he is not the senior most MLA in the House. Giving oaths is fine, but he is supervising the proceedings and that is a problem, Sibal said.

Sibal said that the discretion of the Governor is limited. He cites the Nabam Rabia case to put forth his arguments.

The Bench pointed out that the senior most in the House is not by age, but by the number of terms he or she has been elected. Sibal then raked up Bopaiah's past record when he had conducted two controversial trust votes in 2011. He said that the issue is not only to do with seniority, but also his past record.

The court then said that there have been instances when a senior most member of the House has not been appointed pro-tem speaker. Sibal said that it is a world wide convention to appoint the senior most MLA as pro-tem speaker. The Governor of Karnataka in the case of Bopaiah has gone against convention, he also argued.

The Bench then said that if the suitability of Bopaiah has to be examined, then floor test must be postponed. If you want us to examine his suitability, then we must issue notice to Bopaiah. Then we would have to postpone the floor test, the court also said.

You are in a zone of contradiction. On one hand you want us to test the suitability of the Speaker and on the other do not want us to postpone the floor test said the Supreme Court.

Kapil Sibal then said let the MLAs take oath. But as far as the test is concerned, you should pass and order. The court said that if the order passed by it needs to be reviewed and Bopaiah should not be allowed to oversee the trust vote, then who will conduct it. Who will preside over the trust vote, the Bench asked.

Verdict in a nut-shell:

  • Bopaiah to continue as pro-tem speaker.
  • Bopaiah to administer oaths and conduct floor test.
  • No other agenda other than oaths and floor tests today.
  • Proceedings in the assembly to be telecast live starting 11 am.
  • The floor test will be conducted at 4 pm.

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