The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay the swearing-in of BJP leader Manohar Parrikar as the Chief Minister of Goa.
The court gave its order while paving the way for Parrikar to take the oath shortly after which the former defence minister was sworn in by Governor Mridula Sinha in Panaji.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, however, requested Governor Mridula Sinha to convene the Assembly on March 16 when the only agenda before the House, apart from oath-taking of MLAs, will be the floor test.
During the hearing, the bench found fault with Congress for not raising the issue of number of MLAs supporting it before the Governor and also rushing to the apex court without the affidavits of the elected members of the regional parties and independents that they are supporting the Congress which emerged as the single largest party in the 40-member House.
“You could have demonstrated this and it would not have taken more than 30 seconds.” “You only had to file their affidavits to say that they are with you and not with the other party. They have given a list of 21 MLAs in the House of 40 but nowhere in your petition have you said that their claim is wrong and these MLAs are with you. You don’t tell us that here nor have you told this to the Governor,” it said.
The top court said it could not take away the Governor’s power to appoint the chief minister. It took note of the fact that the petitioner Congress Legislature Party leader didn’t dispute the numbers in favour of the BJP Legislature Party leader.
In a bid to stall Parrikar’s oath-taking as Goa Chief Minister, the Congress had on Monday moved the Supreme Court challenging Governor Mridula Sinha’s decision to invite him to form the government.
Petitioner Kavlekar contended that the Governor was duty-bound to invite the largest party to form the next government in Goa.Kavlekar had contended that he was constrained to move the court as the governor in a “blatant unconstitutional act” had invited the BJP, a minority political party in the state legislature, to form the government.
He submitted that constitutional convention enjoined the Governor to call upon the single largest party in the first instance and prove its majority.
The top court said it was “satisfied” that all the sensitive and contentious issues raised in the petition by Goa Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Chandrakant Kavlekar “can be resolved by a simple direction of holding a floor test”.
It also directed going ahead with all “pre-requisites of holding the floor test by tomorrow, including the formalities required by the Election Commission” and putting in place the senior most member in the Assembly as the protem speaker.