The Supreme Court has given the green signal to the swearing in ceremony of B S Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister of Karnataka. The court however directed Yeddyurappa to produce before it the letter of support by 10.30 am on Friday when the court would continue hearing the matter.
The court said that the the outcome of the swearing in would be subject to the outcome of the petition filed by the Congress and JD(S). When Abhishek Manu Singvi pleaded that the swearing in be stayed, the court refused to do so. His plea to schedule the floor test in the Karnataka legislative assembly for Friday was also rejected.
The court also asked the Attorney General to produce the May 15 and 16 letters written by Yeddyurappa to the Governor in which he staked a claim to form the government.
There were dramatic arguments in the court that began at 2 am, with the Congress saying that the action of the Governor was wrong in law. Abhishek Manu Singvi appearing for the Congress and JD(S) said that the Governor completely dispensed with the Constitutional norm. He said that Kumaraswamy staked a claim to form the government with the support from the Congress. They have a total strength of 116 in the 222 member House. The BJP has just 104 MLAs and the Governor invited the party and this is unconstitutional, Singvi also argued.
He cited the Goa case where he said that a post poll alliance by the BJP, despite the Congress being the single largest party had stolen a march over the Congress to form the government and the Supreme Court had upheld it. The Governor of Karnataka has negated democracy by not calling the Congress-JD(S) to form the government. He said that the Governor has given Yeddyurappa 15 days time. This invites horse trading he also added.
Calling a person who commands 104 MLAs ahead of another who commands 116 MLAs and then giving the person 15 days is adding insult to injury by the Governor, Singhvi contended. The SC however asked if it was not the norm that the single largest party be called first. Singvi said that it may be the single largest party, but it does not have a majority. How do you know Yeddyurappa has not submitted a list of MLAs and claimed majority support, the court asked.
When Singvi said that the Governor's action must be stayed, the court said that the general trend as per the SC verdicts is not to interfere with the Governor. Attorney General, K K Venugopal stepped in and said that the SC can never step into examining the Governor's zone of satisfaction of a party providing stable government.
Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the BJP said that this matter should not have been heard at midnight. Heavens would not have fallen if someone is sworn in. The last time the SC heard a case at this time was relating to the hanging of Yakub Memon. The AG said that this petition should not have been filed. They should have waited for the outcome of the floor test, he also said.
At this juncture there was a twist. The court said that it would not stay the swearing in. However Singvi continued to insist that it be stayed and arguments continued for another hour.
Rohatgi said that in the Goa case the Congress never staked a claim. Rohatgi said that in Goa, Digambar Kamat of Congress never made a claim. So the next person Manohar Parrikar of the BJP made the claim and was invited to form the government. The number of days that could be given to Yeddyurappa to prove his majority can be debated after two days. It is not a case of Yakub Memon hanging that the arguments to continue exactly in the same fashion from 2 am to 5 am, he also said.
The court observed that if court cannot issue notice to Governor, then it should not injunct him from swearing in also. It stands to reason that we cannot injunct a party ( Governor) we cannot summon here, the court also said.
If a Governor dared to make a one party party CM, we cannot injunct the CM from taking oath. But we can stay his government from functioning the court observed to which Singvi said, "you cannot give me a right of which the remedy is illusory." The court however asked, "are you saying we cannot stop a government from functioning."