The Karnataka State elections have been a highly anticipated political encounter between two of the major national political parties. With the advent of a split poll result, the issue of who would form the majority and establish the government became a topic of heated discussions among the political circuit. However, when the Governor openly invited the single largest party having the highest number of elected representatives to come and form the government whilst proving majority, the remaining parties objected to this invitation and moved the Supreme Court challenging the oath taking ceremony.
The petition filed by Dr.G. Paremeshwara, Congress MLA and H.D Kumaraswamy, JD(S) MLA was presented before the Supreme Court and heared by a bench of Justice AK Sikri, Justice SA Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan in the wee hours of 17th of May 2018. Mr. Abhishekh Manu Singhvi, counsel appearing for the petitioners contended that the Congress, JD(S) & BSP had formed a post-poll alliance after the election results and had staked the first claim for government formation; however, the Governor, instade of inviting the post poll alliance, chose to invite BJP led by B.S Yeddyurappa, even though they do not have the simple majority required for forming the government. This argument was supported by the judgment of the Constitution Bench decision of the Supreme Court in Rameshwar Prasad v. Union of India (2006) 2 SCC 1 wherein it was submitted that the Governor was duty bound to invite the post-poll alliance which has prima facie demonstrated majority. The Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the respondent, contended that the Governor was vested with the discretionary powers by the Constitution and the Court cannot prevent the Goverenor in the discharge of his functioning. The case of Chandrakant Kavlekar v. Union of India (2017) 3 SCC 758 or the Goa elections case was cited, where the SC did not interfere with the Goa Governor’s decision to invite the post-poll alliance forged by BJP ignoring Congress, which was the single largest party.
The Supreme Court declined to stay the swearing-in ceremony with the direction that Mr. Yedyurappa had to present the letter sent to the Governor showing majority support by Friday 18th May 2018. The bench further clarified that the swearing-in ceremony was subject to the result of the petition.
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