The Supreme Court on Saturday rejected the Congress-Janata Dal-Secular’s petition challenging the appointment of K G Bopaiah as the pro tem speaker ahead of Karnataka floor test.
The Congress had asked the top court on Friday evening to cancel Bopaiah’s appointment by Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala because he had a dubious and controversial record.
The Congress had also argued that he is not the senior most lawmaker in the house. The court then observed that there had been instances in the past when the pro tem speaker was not the senior most.
Opening the arguments, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Congress-JD-S combine, said as per convention the senior-most MLA should be appointed pro tem speaker.
He said the governor has very limited discretionary power in appointing pro tem speaker and “we would have no objection if pro tem speaker only had to administer oath to the MLAs, the problem is here he is also holding the floor test”.
The senior lawyer said appointing senior-most lawmaker as pro tem speaker has been a practice in place in commonwealth countries.
However, the bench shot back, “there have been earlier instances where senior-most MLA has not been appointed as pro tem speaker”.
“If you (Sibal) are casting aspersions on the pro tem speaker then we will have to issue notice to him and postpone the floor test,” the bench said.
The Supreme Court on Saturday also ordered live streaming of the floor test.
“Live broadcast of floor test will be the best possible way to ensure transparency in the proceedings,” a bench comprising justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan said.
The bench said secretary of the legislative assembly will record the proceedings of the House.
It said that several local channels will be provided the live feed of the proceedings so that they can also be in a position to telecast simultaneously.
The bench termed as “fair” the suggestion of Karnataka governor’s counsel that the floor test be telecast live.
-- With inputs from Agencies