India: BS Yeddyurappa to be CM as all eyes are on next speaker

  • The Supreme Court refused to stay BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in as Karnataka chief minister after a rare post-midnight courtroom battle unfolded dramatically over the Congress-JD(S) combine’s legal push to stall the government formation.
  • A three-judge apex court bench also made it clear that the swearing-in and the government formation would be subject to the final outcome of the case before it.
  • The bench wondered whether the Supreme Court’s restraining order against the government might lead to a constitutional vacuum in the state. It also observed that the general trend of its past judgements was not to issue injunction or restrain the governor.
  • The Karnataka governor had asked BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa to take oath as the next chief minister on 17 May 18, thus moving the spotlight to the Assembly for the ‘floor test’.
  • Governor Vajubhai Vala has given the BJP leader 15 days to prove his majority on the floor of the House. During this period, elections will also be conducted for the Assembly constituency of RR Nagar where voting was not held on 12 May 18.
  • If counted, this could take the majority mark to 113. Election dates for another constituency, Jayanagar, have not been announced.
  • But more than the floor test, it’s the choice and election of the next Speaker that has the principal political parties in a bind in Karnataka, especially the BJP which has fallen short of the majority by eight seats.
  • Both camps — the BJP and the JDS-Congress combine – began hectic internal discussions on the subject because election of the next Speaker will in-effect be the first ‘floor test’.
  • The JDS-Congress combined will put up one candidate for the post of the Speaker which with 116 members would, at least numerically, place them ahead of the BJP’s 104 in case of a vote.
  • The rival parties can reach a consensus but this appears unlikely in the current situation. The floor test is usually performed by an elected Speaker, not a pro-tempore Speaker who is meant to only conduct the swearing-in process of the new MLAs.
  • Also, the Speaker has considerable discretion in dealing with complaints under the anti-defection law. In many cases, MLAs have voted against the whip but the Speaker doesn’t necessarily give his ruling immediately.
  • There are precedents were the Speaker did not give a ruling in cases of defections and kept the issue hanging. Since the Speaker is not specifically bound by a timeframe, the ruling party can continue to be in power for months.
  • Neither side is willing to be quoted in detail on the matter, but they admit that the main priority is to have a Speaker who would ensure “fairness” in proceedings.

External Link: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/karnataka-power-battle-sc-refuses-to-stay-yeddyurappa-swearing-in/articleshow/64198409.cms

External Link: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/bs-yeddyurappa-gets-governors-nod-but-all-eyes-on-next-speaker/articleshow/64198528.cms

17-May-2018


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