Karnataka crisis: SC to hear Congress-Janata Dal secular plea challenging KG Bopaiah's appointment

The plea challenging KG Bopaiah's appointment will come up for hearing before a three-member bench of Justice AK Sikri, Justice SA Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan at 10.30 am on Saturday.

Karnataka crisis: SC to hear Congress-Janata Dal secular plea challenging KG Bopaiah's appointment

BENGALURU: The Supreme Court will on Saturday hear an application moved by the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular combine challenging Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala's decision to appoint KG Bopaiah as the Protem Speaker ahead of the crucial floor test in the Legislative Assembly.

The matter will come for hearing before a three-member bench of Justice AK Sikri, Justice SA Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan at 10.30 am.

The application was filed by an advocate Dev Dutt Kamat in the top court at 7.45 pm on Friday.

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 BS 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 Protem 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) said that except for administering the oath and conducting floor test, the pro-term Speaker should be restrained from exercising any other power.

The Congress party 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 the number of times he has been elected to the Assembly who can be a Protem Speaker.

In a press conference, the party even released an audio clip which purportedly reveals how BJP's Janardhana Reddy attempted to lure Basanagouda Daddal to break ranks with Congress.

Congress further alleged that BJP is repeatedly offering money to its MLAs in Karnataka in order for it to make up its deficit - a charge BJP has vehemently denied.

Referring to Bopaiah`s appointment, the Congress said that it was done "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 Protem Speaker.

The application said that Bopaiah has a "dubious and controversial record of passing biased disqualification orders".

Bopaiah, the application stated, has been "severely criticised'' and strictures were passed against him by the top court. 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 plea contended.

The application said that Governor Vala has appointed Bopaiah in a shocking disregard to the 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 said expressing "reasonable apprehension" of both the Congress and the JD(S).

The application contended that the Chief Minister BS 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 a majority. The same is commonly known as "Operation Lotus", the plea claimed.

However, the ruling BJP has categorically the rejected the charges as ''attempts to murder the democracy by Congress.''

Meanwhile, Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa has also expressed confidence that he will comfortably survive the floor test in the assembly this evening.

(With IANS inputs)