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Jethmalani moves SC against Karnataka governor’s decision inviting BJP to form govt

SNS | New Delhi |

A day after Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R Vala invited BJP to form the government, senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani on Thursday moved the Supreme Court in his personal capacity against the Karnataka governor’s decision saying it was a “gross abuse of constitutional power”.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered the submission of Jethmalani seeking urgent hearing and said that a three-judge special bench, which had heard petitions filed by the Congress party and the Janata Dal (Secular) in the early hours, would re-assemble tomorrow.

The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, asked the veteran lawyer to make his submission before the three-judge bench led by Justice AK Sikri on May 18 when the petitions of Congress-JD(S) would be taken up for further hearing.

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“The governor’s order is a gross abuse of the constitutional power and this has brought disrepute to the constitutional office he has been holding,” Jethmalani submitted while seeking nod to submit his views in the case, according to PTI.

He said that he has not come before the court in favour or against any party but has been hurt over the “unconstitutional” decision taken by the Governor.

Earlier on Thursday, BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa took oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka at the Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru.

A visibly delighted Yeddyurappa displayed the victory sign after taking the oath of office.

Only Yeddyurappa took the oath at the simple ceremony in the ‘Glass House’ on the lawns of the Raj Bhavan at the city centre amid tight security. His cabinet will be sworn-in only after he proves majority in the House.

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After Vala invited Yeddyurappa to form the new government in the state, the Congress approached Supreme Court Chief Justice Dipak Misra on Wednesday night seeking an urgent hearing on the matter.

After the urgent midnight hearing, the Supreme Court decided not to stay the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa as the new CM.

The court, however, sought the communications which Yeddyurappa had written to the Governor informing him his election as BJP legislature party.

Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who was leading his party’s challenge, called Karnataka governor’s invite “an encounter of the constitution”. He argued that the BJP couldn’t claim to have majority unless it triggered defections from the Congress and the JD(S).

According to TV reports, Singhvi told the court: “The governor can’t negate democracy… The other side has 104 members and this side, 116…. It is elementary common sense on numbers (which one is greater).”

The government was represented by top law officer KK Venugopal and others. His predecessor Mukul Rohatgi was also present, and appeared for some BJP legislators.

The Supreme Court refused to stay the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa saying it could not intervene in the Governor’s decision. It, however, did not dismiss the Congress-JD(S) petition, saying it would take up the matter later. The hearing is likely to take place on Friday.

(With agency inputs)