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  India   All India  19 May 2018  Row as Bopaiah pro-tem Speaker, Supreme Court plea moved

Row as Bopaiah pro-tem Speaker, Supreme Court plea moved

Published : May 19, 2018, 1:09 am IST
Updated : May 19, 2018, 1:09 am IST

The Supreme Court will hear the application at 10.30 am on Saturday.

Supreme Court
 Supreme Court

New Delhi/Bengaluru: In yet another controversial move, Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala appointed BJP MLA K.G Bopaiah as protem Speaker to conduct the floor test in the Assembly at 4 pm on Saturday, despite several other members being more senior than him.

The Congress and the JD(S) moved an application in the Supreme Court late Friday evening challenging this, alleging that Mr Bopaiah, a former Speaker of the Karnataka Assembly, has a dubious and controversial record of passing biased disqualification orders. The Supreme Court will hear the application at 10.30 am on Saturday.

In 2010, when the internal squabbles in the BJP had reached a flashpoint with some Independents pulling out support from the B.S. Yeddyurappa government, Mr Bopaiah disqualified five Independents claiming they had attended the BJP legislature party meeting and had become BJP associate members. Citing this reason, he disqualified the legislators, which was later contested by the Independents in the high court and the Supreme Court. Finally, the Supreme Court held the Speaker’s act to be unconstitutional and restored the membership of the Independent members.

In their application on Friday evening, the Congress and JD(S) said that pursuant to the orders passed by the court earlier Friday, the governor had appointed a junior four-time BJP MLA as pro-tem Speaker in a shocking disregard for parliamentary convention and long-standing practice of appointing the seniormost member of the House.

They said the conduct of Mr Bopaiah had been severely criticised and strictures were passed against him by the Supreme Court. The disqualification orders passed by him were also set aside as mala fide. This was in the face of the fact that the seniormost MLA now serving his eight tenure was overlooked.

The petitioners said they feared that the sole purpose of appointing a relatively junior member of the House was nothing but an attempt to seize and manipulate the floor test. There was grave and genuine concern on the impartiality of the pro-tem Speaker, they said.

The chief minister, in tandem with the government at the Centre, was exercising influence through the governor to ensure that he sails through the floor test by hook or crook, in absolute disregard to parliamentary practice and the well-established convention of appointing the seniormost member as pro-tem Speaker. Further, the manner in which the preparations for the floor test were being carried out seemed to suggest that it was designed to replicate defections orchestrated by Mr Yeddyurappa in 2008 when he was again short of a majority. This was commonly known as “Operation Lotus”, they noted.

They said a representation had already made to the governor requesting him to follow the convention and appoint the seniormember MLA as pro-tem Speaker to facilitate the floor test. Further, in the absence of any videography of proceedings, the petitioners would not be able to demonstrate to the court if there was any illegality and will be severely handicapped to apprise the court in this regard, they said.

The petitioners, fearing that the floor test would not be conducted in a free and fair manner, requested for videography of the proceedings, and prayed for a direction to quash Mr Bopaiah’s appointment and a direction to appoint a new pro-tem Speaker.

Tags: vajubhai vala, supreme court, b.s. yeddyurappa