Goa 2017

SC allows Goa swearing-in, orders Thursday floor test

Lawyers emerge from the Supreme Court after the hearing on the Congress plea on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

The Supreme Court on Tuesday requested Goa Governor Mridula Sinha to hold a floor test in the Assembly on March 16 for parties to prove their majority.

“This sensitive and contentious issue can be resolved by holding a floor test at the earliest... We request the Governor to hold the floor test at 11 a.m. on March 16, 2017,” the Supreme Court recorded in its order.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R.K. Agrawal refused to stay the swearing-in of BJP Legislature Party Leader Manohar Parrikar as the Chief Minister.

The Congress won 17 seats while the BJP came second with 13 in the election to the 40-member Goa Assembly. The Governor invited Mr. Parrikar, who resigned as Union Defence Minister, to form the government in the State on March 12 after he paraded a majority of 21 elected members, including three each from the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and the Goa Forward Party and two Independents.

The Congress moved the SC on March 13, claiming the Governor’s decision to appoint Mr. Parrikar as Chief Minister without consulting the single largest Legislative Party (Congress) was a “brazen” misuse of constitutional office.

The court said it was not possible to stop the oath-taking ceremony as the Congress has so far done nothing to prove that Mr. Parrikar’s claim was wrong. Neither did the Congress, since the poll results were announced on March 11, call on the Governor to prove its majority nor had it led arguments or place any record before the SC to prove that Mr. Parrikar did not enjoy the majority.

SC questions Congress

“On what satisfaction do we stop the oath-taking... You have not raised any argument here on the numbers [of members] you have. We cannot stop the formation of the government,” Justice Gogoi told Congress counsel and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi and advocate Devadatt Kamat.

The Bench said it could even dismiss the petition filed by the Goa Congress Legislature Party leader Chandrakant Kavlekar for not impleading Mr. Parrikar as a party in the petition.

Senior advocate Harish Salve and Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, representing the Union of India and Goa, initially suggested this Friday or Monday as suitable days for holding the floor test.

Pointing to the Congress, Chief Justice Khehar addressed Mr. Salve: “They [Congress] are saying you [BJP] are a very powerful party and you can manipulate a majority.” “But we are not opposing a floor test,” Mr. Salve replied.

“The situation is fluid. In a floor test, the House will decide whether the Governor’s decision was right,” Justice Gogoi explained.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 12:07:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/goa-2017/sc-allows-goa-swearing-in-orders-thursday-floor-test/article17463467.ece

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