Maha-drama: SC orders floor test on Wed, with live telecast, no-secret-ballot

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a floor test to be held on Wednesday in the Maharashtra Assembly, to determine the fate of the Devendra Fadnavis Government sworn in hurriedly on Saturday last in Mumbai.

Prior to the floor test, the Governor will nominate a pro-tem Speaker who will administer oath to the newly-elected MLAs by 5 PM. Thereafter, the pro-tem speaker will supervise the floor test, with no secret ballots. The entire proceedings in the House will be telecast live and recorded, the apex court said.

A three-judge Bench, headed by Justice NV Ramana and comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Ashok Bhushan, was hearing the urgent plea filed by the Shiv Sena , NCP and Congress challenging Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s decision to swear in BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister and Ajit Pawar of NCP as the Deputy Chief Minister. In their joint plea, the three parties urged the top court to order an immediate floor test.

Representing the BJP, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi had, on Monday, said the situation in Maharashtra was quite different from that in Karnataka where the apex court had asked the B S Yediyurappa Government to prove its majority on the floor of the House in 48 hours in 2018.

Representing NCP and Congress, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi countered the plea seeking more time to file a reply and said, “We are happy to lose on the floor of the House. The proof of the pudding lies in eating… You don’t want an early floor test and we know why.”

The Sena, Congress and NCP, appearing satisfied with the apex court’s order, said ‘The Constitution has been respected on the Constitution Day’. Former Maharashtra CM and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said, “We are confident that we have a majority in the Maharashtra Assembly. The reality of BJP’s claim will be exposed tomorrow”.

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