SC refuses to stay Parrikar Oat taking ceremony

On March 14th, 2017, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India refused to stay the oath taking ceremony of Manohar Parrikar before the Goa Legislative Assembly to be sworn as the Chief Minister of Goa. Furthermore, it ordered a floor test to be held on March 16th, 2017.

Where it all began

At the completion of Goa Assembly elections on 40 seats, Congress party stood at 17 seats, BJP at 13, Goa Forward Party (GFP) at 3, Maharashtravadi Gomantak Party (MGP) at 3, Independent numbering 3 and NCP at 1. BJP got support from GFP, MGP and two independent MLAs and claimed majority before the Governer of Goa. Mridula Sinha, the Governor of Goa, invited BJP to form government in the state. Congress filed the petition before the Supreme Court challenging the decision of Mridula Sinha.

Contentions of the Parties

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Congress, contended that the Governor failed to adhere to the mandates of the Constitution of India and acted in a malafide and arbitrary manner as he should have invited Congress, i.e., the single largest party in Goa to form the government. They also contended that BJP employed a late-night political manoeuvre and defeated the mandate of the people which was in favour of Congress.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Mridula Sinha, contended that the Governor was convinced of BJP’s majority while on the other hand, Congress failed to prove its majority. He also stated that the floor test will happen as soon as possible. Moreover, the swearing-in ceremony should go as planned, on 14th March at 5 p.m.

The Verdict

A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar observed that there is no rationale in staying the oath taking ceremony. It further stated that all the formalities required by the Election Commission to be completed by 15th March and the floor test to prove the majority should be conducted on 16th March at 11 a.m. Supreme Court cracked down on Congress by pointing out that “The Congress don’t have the numbers or else it would have proven its majority before the Governor. Everything is lacking in their plea and they haven’t approached the Governor to form the government.” It finally directed the parties to appoint a ‘Protem’ speaker to conduct the floor test.

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