SC Invokes SR Bommai Ruling To Order MP Assembly To Conduct Floor Test
The Supreme Court invoked the spirit of S R Bommai and Nabam Rebia versus Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly rulings to pronounce its verdict, directing Madhya Pradesh legislative assembly to conduct floor test today by 5 pm.
The Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta observed that a chief minister’s refusal to hold a floor test only prima-facie proved that Kama Nath no longer enjoys the confidence of the house.
The apex court also took cognisance of Karnataka and Maharashtra examples, where members of the Congress had approached Supreme Court for immediate floor test.
Prouncing the verdict, the Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said: “The state of uncertainty in the state of Madhya Pradesh must be effectively resolved by issuing a direction for convening a floor test, bearing in mind the principles which have been enunciated in the decision of the nine-Judge Bench of this Court in S R Bommai versus Union of India and in the decision of the Constitution Bench in Nabam Rebia versus Deputy Speaker of Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly. These principles have been consistently reiterated in several subsequent decisions of this court.”
The interpretation of Bommai versus Union of India verdict is that a chief minister’s refusal to hold a floor test is itself a prima-facie evidence that he no longer enjoys confidence of the house.
During the hearing, Rohatgi asked the court to order a floor test because the Congress evidently had lost majority as 22 of its MLAs had already tendered resignations to the Speaker.
“Pass an order for the floor test and let the results be placed before this Court,” he submitted.
He further submittted that the Congress government would fall if the MLAs either vote against the government or do not turn up and the only way it would survive is if they turn up and vote for Kamal Nath government.
Rohatgi Exposes Cong Lies And Double Standards
Exposing the double standards of the Congress, Rohatgi said in Karnataka and Maharashtra, they had argued for immediate floor test.
“Karnataka hearing was at midnight and they had a floor test immediately. Now they want two weeks,” he argued.
Rohatgi submitted that the Congress was playing delaying tactics in various means including citing coronavirus for adjourning the assembly, despite the Governor Lalji Tandon had sought floor test of Kamal Nath government.
“It is a device to indulge in horse-trading. There is a hindi phrase – Sau choohe khaa ke billi hajj ko chali . It applies to them. The Parliament and Supreme Court is working, but the assembly was adjourned citing coronavirus. They could have spared 15 minutes. What prevented them? Thereafter, the minority government goes on making appointments in commissions and panels, while the matter is pending in the apex court,” he said.
Rohatgi said the Congress has been giving false information to the court and hiding facts from the court. The fact of the matter is that the rebel MLAs housed at Bengaluru hotel are unwilling to meet Congress leaders including Digvijaya Singh, who told media that they were kidnapped and taken captive by BJP.
The MLAs also had released videos and addressed the media, countering the charges of the senior Congress leader, Rohatgi said.
The Congress leader (Digvijaya Singh) also had hid the fact from the court that Karnataka High Court had rejected his plea seeking a meeting with the rebel MLAs, he submitted.
Governor Lalji Tandon Counsel, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the delay in accepting the resignations of the MLAs by the Speaker was undemocratic. He further stated that the Governor didn’t invite BJP to form the government, but instead asked the government in place to prove majority.
Rebel MLAs’ Counsel Maninder Singh submitted that it is a right of an MLA to tender resignation and to refuse to go to the assembly. The rebel MLAs cannot be compelled to do otherwise, he asserted.
Countering the arguments, Speaker’s Counsel Abhishekh Manu Singhvi submitted that the decision of the Governor can be subject to judicial review and sought two weeks’ time for the Speaker to decide on the resignations.
He added that what the Governor has done in Madhya Pradesh is worse than imposition of Article 356.
In the pre-lunch hearing, Singhvi had sought for no-confidence motion, not floor test, because the house was in progress.
Rohatgi however countered that it was delaying tactics of the Congress to buy time and indulge in horse-trading. No-confidence motion takes 14 days time to fructify as it needs a discussion before the legislators vote for or against the motion.
Justice Chandrachud, earlier, had observed that the court does not want to encourage horse-trading.
The bench also ordered that floor test should be the only agenda in the legislative session and voting shall take place by show of hands, besides proceedings before the assembly shall be videographed.
They also directed all authorities to ensure law and order and conduct the floor test peacefully.
The bench directed the Director Generals of Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh police to ensure that the rights of the rebel MLAs shall not be restrained and security is provided to them.
Satyamev Jayate, tweeted former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan soon after the Supreme Court ordered floor test, as he is hopeful of forming a government under his leadership.
The MP Congress had moved the Apex Court a day after BJP leaders sought a direction to hold a floor test in the state assembly. The Court today issued notice in the plea filed by BJP leaders including former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.