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Seeking an urgent hearing for a direction to the governor to invite the alliance with 116 MLAs, five more than the halfway mark in the assembly at its present strength of 222, the foes-turned-post-poll-allies sought the setting aside of governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision to invite Yeddyurappa to form the government.
Moving an Article 32 writ petition, the post-poll allies accused the governor of setting aside constitutional norms and SC-demarcated guidelines on the issue of whom to invite to form the government and flayed the decision to ask BJP to form the government despite having eight seats less than the majority mark of 112.
The joint petitioners, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G Parameshwara and JD(S) president H D Kumaraswamy, said, “Failure of the governor to invite Congress-JD(S)-BSP alliance which together commands a clear majority of 116 legislators in the assembly is ex facie unconstitutional, illegal and arbitrary.”
Appealing to the SC to discharge its role as sentinel for upholding rule of law and basic norms of parliamentary democracy, that is rule by majority, the coalition partners said the govenror had no discretion to invite any other party once the coalition demonstrated, while staking claim to form government, that it enjoyed support of a majority of MLAs.
Quoting the SC’s constitution bench judgment in Rameshwar Prasad case, the petitioners said the SC had said, “If a political party with support of other political party or other MLAs stakes claim to form government and satisfies the governor about its majority to form a stable government, the governor cannot refuse formation of the government and override the majority claim because of his subjective assessment that the majority was cobbled by illegal and unethical means.”
“BJP has not been able to even prima facie demonstrate (in any event it cannot legally) that it can form a government with the support of majority of the legislators in the assembly. The pre-requisite to the formation of executive is the prima facie satisfaction of the governor on the basis of objective material that the leader staking his claim as chief minister has to enjoy the support of majority of the members of the legislative assembly, which is sine qua non of the parliamentary democracy, that is the political executive being responsible to the legislature and can continue only so long as it enjoys the confidence of the majority in the legislature,” the Congress-JDS combine said in its petition filed through advocates Devadatt Kamat and Gautam Talukdar.
The two parties said there was no proof of the CM aspirant enjoying the confidence of the majority of legislators. “No such demonstrations either by letters of support or by parading of MLAs has been done by BJP, which clearly falls short of the halfway mark of 112 MLAs,” they said.