NEW DELHI :
THE Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Kamal Nath-led Congress Government in Madhya Pradesh to respond by Wednesday to a plea by senior BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan seeking immediate floor test in the State Assembly. Taking note of the “urgency of the situation,” a bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta issued notices to Chief Minister Nath, Speaker N P Prajapati and Principal Secretary of the Assembly and will hear the plea at 10.30 am on Wednesday. Chouhan, who is former Chief Minister of the State, and nine BJP lawmakers, including the Leader of Opposition and BJP’s Chief Whip in the Assembly, knocked the doors of the top court on Monday just after the Speaker cited coronavirus concerns and adjourned the House till March 26 without taking the floor test apparently defying the directions of Governor Lalji Tandon.
“We have heard Mukul Rohatgi, senior counsel, along with Mishra Saurabh, Advocate-on-Record appearing on behalf of the petitioners (Chouhan and others). Issue notice. In view of the urgency of the situation, the notice is made returnable at 10:30 am on March 18, 2020,” the bench said in its order. The top court allowed Chouhan to serve the notice on the State Government and others “through e-mail in addition to the usual mode of service.” It also allowed 16 rebel Congress lawmakers, who have purportedly tendered their resignations to the Speaker, to file an application seeking impleadment as parties to the plea filed by Chouhan.
Senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for the rebel Congress MLAs, said that the resignations of six lawmakers, out of 22, have already been accepted and there was no reason for not accepting the resignations of the 16 MLAs. “Maninder Singh, senior counsel states that he would be filing an application for impleadment on behalf of the sixteen MLAs who, it is submitted, have tendered their resignations. A copy of the application. Shall be served on the contesting parties in the same mode as the petition under Article 32 of the Constitution. List the Writ Petition at 10:30 am tomorrow (March 18, 2020),” the apex court’s order said. At the outset, Rohatgi, appearing for the senior BJP leader and three-time Chief Minister, said: “The rationale in this case is that a floor test is required and usually the other side appears in such cases. “This case represents complete travesty of democracy.
The other side deliberately did not appear,” he said referring to the fact that nobody for the Chief Minister and the State Government appeared in the court. He said the apex court has in the past heard such a case during night hours and the floor test were ordered.
MP Cong moves SC
THE Madhya Pradesh Congress Legislature party (MPCLP) moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking direction to the Centre and the BJP-led Karnataka Government to grant it access to communicate with its rebel MLAs allegedly kept at Bengaluru. MPCLP, in its plea filed by Govind Singh, an MLA and chief whip of Congress legislature party, urged the apex court to declare as illegal the action of the Centre, Karnataka Government and the MP BJP of illegally confining its MLAs in Bangaluru. The plea, filed through senior lawyer Devdutt Kamat, said the trust vote would be a “sham” if 22 MLAs did not take part in it as almost 10 per cent of constituencies go unrepresented.
“In the instant case, as the 22 MLAs who represent 22 constituencies almost constituting 10 per cent of the total seats have purportedly resigned, the electorate of such constituencies are completely unrepresented. “In these circumstances, a trust vote if held will be complete sham and would be antithetical to the principle of representative democracy which is the basic feature of the constitution,” the plea said.
A floor test in such a situation ought to be held only after by-elections to the seats falling vacant as a result of the resignations have been held, the MPCLP said. The plea also sought a direction to allowing its rebel MLAs to participate in the ongoing budget session.