NEW DELHI:In a huge setback to Congress, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Governor Mridula Sinha to conduct the floor test on March 16 in the Goa legislative assembly for parties to prove majority.
Hours after the apex court verdict, former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar took oath as Chief Minister of Goa. BJP has the support of 21 elected MLAs out of the 40 at present.
In a two-hour-long hearing, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing on behalf of Congress raised questions on the Governor’s decision to invite Parrikar to form the government in the State despite Congress being the single largest party. “It is clear from the Arunachal Pradesh judgment that the Governor has discretion in situations like this,” CJI said. Singhvi said, “We have the support of the 21 MLAs with us.”
This led CJI to remark, “You should have gone with your list to the Governor and told her ‘Here we have the numbers to form the government’. You should have gone on a dharna in front of the Governor’s residence if you had the numbers and someone else was staking a claim to form the government. You (Congress) could have proven your numbers anytime, even after approaching the Supreme Court. In the night or even today. But so far you have done nothing. You did not even have the affidavits filed before us for the record to prove that you have numbers.”
The court also took exception to the fact that, Congress in its plea has not made Parrikar as party and said, “You should have made him a party when you knew he is going to become the CM. You want an order behind the back of a man and we shall not allow this.”
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar filed an order that states, “During the course of hearing, we were satisfied that the instant sensitive and contentious issue raised on behalf of the petitioner, can be resolved by a simple direction, requiring the holding of a floor test at the earliest. The holding of the floor test would remove all possible ambiguities, and would result in giving the democratic process, the required credibility.”
“We direct that all pre-requisite formalities for holding a floor test, including the formalities required to be completed by the Election Commission be completed by March 15. The only agenda on March 16 would be the holding of a floor test,” the bench stated.