The Supreme Court will hear on Saturday a petition filed by the Congress and the JD-S challenging Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision to appoint K.G. Bopaiah, a relatively junior MLA, as the pro-tem Speaker.
Advocate Dev Dutt Kamat, who has filed the application, told reporters at the Supreme Court that the application was filed at 7.45 p.m. (on Friday) and has been listed to be heard by a bench of Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan at 10.30 a.m. on Saturday.
He said the Supreme Court has passed scriptures against Bopaiah for acting in a partisan manner and disqualifying MLAs who had earlier revolted against then Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.
Bopaiah is to preside over the floor test on Saturday to ascertain whether newly-appointed Chief Minister Yeddyurappa enjoys a majority support in the assembly.
Seeking the setting aside of the appointment of Bopaiah as pro-term speaker and appointment of the senior most member in his place, the application has sought the videography of the floor test.
The plea by both Congress and JD(S) has said that except for administering oath and conducting floor test, the pro-term Speaker should be restrained from exercising any other power.
On Friday evening, a team of Congress lawyers arrived at the Supreme Court to file the plea.
The Congress has contended that Bopaiah is not the senior-most member in the newly-elected House and as per the parliamentary convention, it is only the senior-most member in terms of number of times he has been elected to the Assembly who can be a pro-tem Speaker.
Earlier in the day, the party alleged Bopaiah’s appointment was made “with the sole intent of manufacturing a majority out of minority for Yeddyurappa”.
Pointing to the “brazen unconstitutional action” in appointing Bopaiah after the passing of the order earlier on Friday morning, the application by both the Congress and JD(S), said that despite the settled parliamentary convention and practice that the senior most member of the assembly in term of number of times he has been elected to the assembly, a junior MLA K.G. Bopaiah (BJP) has been appointed as pro-tem speaker.
The application said that Bopaiah has a “dubious and controversial record of passing biased disqualification orders”.
Bopaiah, the application says has been “severely criticised and strictures” were passed against him by the top court and the disqualification orders passed by him earlier as Speaker of Karnataka assembly were also set aside as being “vitiated with mala fides and undue haste”.
The application has said that Governor Vala has appointed Bopaiah in a shocking disregard to binding parliamentary convention and long standing parliamentary practice of appointing the senior most member of the House.
“The sole purpose of appointing a relatively junior member of the House is nothing but an attempt to seize and manipulate the floor test” the application says expressing “reasonable apprehension” of both the Congress and the JD(S).
The application has contended that the Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa in “tandem with the Government at the Centre is exercising influence through the Governor of the State to ensure that he sails through the floor test by hook or crook, in absolute disregard to Parliamentary practice and the well-established convention of appointing the senior most member as the pro-tem Speaker”.
The “manner in which preparations for the floor test is being carried out seems to suggest that it is being designed to replicate defections orchestrated” by Yeddyurappa in the year 2008 when he was again short of majority.
The same is commonly known as “Operation Lotus”, says the application.