The Supreme Court in an overnight hearing on Wednesday refused to stay the swearing-in ceremony of BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa as Karnataka Chief Minister after Governor Vajubhai Vala invited him to sworn-in as BJP emerged as the single largest party in Karnataka elections. Hearing Congress-JDS petition challenging Karnataka Governor’s order to allow BJP to form the government in the state, the 3-judge Supreme Court bench heard the arguments of both the parties — one represented by Abhishek Manu Singhvi for the Congress party, while former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi representing BJP and Attorney General KK Venugopal representing the Union Government — in detail.
The arguments and counter arguments went for more than 3-hours, while both the parties were making claims of proving that there stand as right regarding the Karnataka verdict. It may have been the first time when the judiciary would have been awaked for the entire night to showcase and set the example in for everyone to see how a democracy works. The Supreme Court listened to the endless arguments of Abhishek Manu Singhvi of the Congress trying his every bit to convince the top to put a stay or defer or postpone Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in. The court also argued and counter-questioned Singhvi’s claim on various fronts, asking whether it has the right to intervene in Governor’s decision.
Representing the BJP and Union Government, former Attorney General and senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi and present Attorney General KK Venugopal said that there was no need for this matter to be heard in the midnight. It could have been heard after the swearing-in. Mukul Rohatgi while presenting his arguments in the court said that he didn’t know what has transpired between BS Yeddyurappa and Governor. “I am appearing for two MLAs. The Governor has already given his decision. However, the number of days given to prove the majority can be reduced and there can be a discussion on this issue.”
BJP’s counsel also said that the third respondent in this case, which is Yeddyurappa, have not been sent a notice to be present in the Court by the petitioner and there is no one who can represent him, therefore he cannot argue on the behalf of Yeddyurappa.
The court after hearing the arguments refused to put a stay on Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in but said that it will hear the matter on Friday from 10:30 am onwards. The Court has also asked Yeddyurappa to produce the letter he has given to Karnataka Governor in which he staked claim to form the government on Friday before the hearing in the matter is resumed.
The result of Karnataka assembly elections has set off a constitutional conundrum for Governor Vajubhai Vala. No party has got the clear mandate but BJP who has emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats under Yeddyurappa claimed to form the government. On the other side, Congress- JDS alliance had also approached the Governor and staked claim to form the next government in Karnataka. The Congress-JDS alliance claimed that they have the numbers to prove the majority on the floor of the House.
The BJP won 104, the Congress 78, and the JD(S) secured 38 seats. The Congress-JD(S) also claims the support of 2 independents that make combine 118. On the result day Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had addressed a presser giving examples of Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya, where the governor chose to ignore the single-largest party, was then criticised by the Congress, which is now citing them as precedent.
Karnataka government formation LIVE UPDATES
5:29 AM | Pronouncing the judgement after listening to the arguments of both the sides in more than 3-hour long overnight hearing, the Supreme Court has refused to stay governor’s order inviting Yeddyurappa to sworn-in as Karnataka Chief Minister. The court has asked Yeddyurappa to produce the letter of support given to Karnataka Governor in which he staked the claim to form the government. Hearing will resume once again on Friday (tomorrow) from 10:30 am onwards.
5:21 AM | Final arguments underway in the Supreme Court, the 3-judge bench is likely to pronounce the order soon.
4:55 AM | The three-judge bench of Supreme Court refuses to stay swearing-in ceremony of BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa as Karnataka Chief Minister, however, arguments still continue in the court.
4:53 AM | The Supreme Court did not dismiss the petition filed by Congress and JD(S) and said, “this petition is a subject of hearing later on”.
4:35 AM | Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi while continuing his arguments in the court during midnight hearing said, “It’s Governor’s job to invite to oath. The President and Governor are not answerable to any court. The court should not stop a constitutional functionary in functioning of his official duties. Please dismiss this petition. They want an injunction to stop discharging function of one of the highest constitutional functionary. Larger questions is that can it be stalled?”
“This petition should not have been filed. Congress-JDS should have waited for the floor test to be conducted,” Attorney General KK Venugopal who is representing the Centre’s said in the court.
However, interjecting KK Venugopal, Justice AK Sikri said, “In a case like this where the opposite side is showing 117 MLAs support, how will you have 112 MLAs support?” Justice AK.
“The matter shouldn’t be heard in the night. Heavens won’t fall if someone is sworn-in. Last time SC heard in night, the case related to hanging of Yakub Memon,” Mukul Rohatgi said.
4:30 AM | Justice SA Bobde said, “We do not know what kind of majority BS Yeddyurappa has claimed. Unless we see that letter of support, we cannot speculate.”
4:29 AM | “Swearing-in ceremony can be held day after tomorrow,” Abhishek Manu Singhvi said during the hearing in the top court. However, the court asked Singhvi, “Where is the letter of the Governor in which he invited BJP to form the government.”
4:27 AM | The Supreme Court has said that respondent number three (Yeddyurappa) is not present in the court. We will issue a notice to Yeddyurappa to appear in the court and the matter can be listed for further hearing. SC suggests no stay on oath taking ceremony. Abhishek Manu Singhvi still argues and has appealed in the court to ask Yeddyurappa to fax the letter which claims that he has the numbers, till then defer the hearing till 4:30 pm today.
4:00 AM | Beginning the argument, former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi who is representing the BJP said, “Don’t know what has transpired between BS Yeddyurappa and Governor. I am appearing for two MLAs. The Governor has already given his decision. The number of days given to prove the majority can be reduced and there can be a discussion on this issue.”
3:22 AM | Making further arguments in the court, Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “Power of the court is greater than Governor. It’s a myth that Supreme Court cannot stop swearing-in. Yeddyurppa’s swearing can be delayed.”
2:58 AM | General trend of Supreme Court is to not restrain Governor, says top court while hearing Congress arguments in the midnight hearing which is still underway.
2:51 AM | Single largest party was not called in Manipur and Goa, says Abhishek Manu Singhvi
2:43 AM | While the hearing is still underway in the Supreme Court, Justice Bobde has questioned Congress if court can stop Governor’s decision. Singhvi replies that it has been done in the past.
2:33 AM | As the midnight hearing is currently underway, Supreme Court has asked alliance not formed before elections. No single party has attained the full majority.
2:15 AM | “BJP has just 104 MLAs in support and the Governor has invited BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa to form the government. It is completely unconstitutional. It’s unheard that a party is given 15 days time to prove its majority from 104 to the magical number (112). Giving permission to form the government to someone who is having 104 seats as compared to the other group that is having 116, is adding insult to injury,” Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.
1:40 AM | “Governor has discretion to call largest party and he has done so. If single largest party won’t be able to form government, other party will be called. In case of Goa elections, single largest party Congress had not presented its side, that’s the difference,” Mukul Rohatgi said.
1:35 AM | Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Congress-JD(S), Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta will represent Union government & former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi for BJP, in hearing of the petition filed by Congress-JDS challenging Karnataka Governor’s decision.
1:30 AM | 3-judge bench of Justice AK Sikri, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice SA Bobde to hear Congress & JD(S) petition challenging Karnataka Governor’s decision at 1:45 am #KarnatakaElections
12:30 AM | After Congress lawyers approached SC registrar, they have now reached the CJI’s residence. Meanwhile, JDS legal team is still present inside Supreme Court premises.
12:13 AM | “BJP has 104 seats, how will they prove majority on the floor, even if they get some independent MLAs? Only way out is to bring Cong and JD(S) MLAs with them, either by using muscle power or buying MLAs. We have filed a petition urging governor to give us a chance,” Congress & JDS lawyer Javed said.
11:30 pm | Speaking about Congress moving the court to seek a stay on Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, “Since swearing in now announced for 9 am on 17/5/18, in a 9 pm invite by governor today to BSY to form Government, urgency to seek listing in Supreme Court tonite is self-validating. If SC registry accepts petitioners request on basis of the petition settled by me and filed tonite, I will appear and argue tonite. This is interesting! BS Yeddyurappa had asked for seven days time to prove majority. Governor gives him fifteen days! This by itself is enuff to prove to discard of all constitutional norms & acting virtually as a partisan agent of the central government and not an actual functionary.
Governor could not have given written permission & license 4 poaching more effectively than by this letter inviting BSY’s minority and then giving them 15 days to show the majority. Elementary common sense tells all that no one with 104 can cross 112 wo massive horse trading.”
11:00 pm | Meanwhile, after Karnataka Governor invited Yeddyurappa to form the government, the Congress and JDS both have moved to Supreme Court seeking a late night hearing to stay Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow at 9 am.
9:45 pm | Take a look at the official letter of the Karnataka Governor sent to BS Yeddyurappa to form the next government in Karnataka. In his letter, Karnataka Governor said, “I am in receipt of your letter dated 16 May, 2018 informing me that you have been elected as the leader of the BJP legislative party of Karnataka. I am also in receipt of your letter dated 15 May, 2018 staking claim to form the government. I invite you to form the government and be sworn in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka. You may kindly indicate the date, time and the place for scheduling the swearing-in ceremony.”
9:05 pm | Meanwhile, BJP Karnataka Twitter handle has deleted tweets in which they have announced that BS Yeddyurappa will take oath as Karnataka CM tomorrow at 9:30 pm.
8:58 pm | BJP Karnataka in-charge Prakash Javadekar was seen showing victory symbol on being asked if the Governor has sent a letter inviting BJP to form the government. Meanwhile, fast-paced developments are still taking place in Bengaluru.
8:40 pm | Following reports that Yeddyurappa will take oath as Karnataka CM on Thursday (tomorrow), the Congress party in a press conference said, “If the Governor invites anyone but Mr. Kumaraswamy (to form the government in Karnataka) he is supporting and encouraging poaching (of MLAs). What is standing in way of the Governor from extending the invitation to the leader of the alliance (HD Kumaraswamy), who clearly demonstrated that he commands the support of the majority?”
“Governor holds an exalted constitutional office, he shouldn’t walk on a perilous path which is illegal, he’s bound by Supreme Court judgement, bound to invite the leader of alliance which is presented to him as an alliance that commands maturity of members in the legislative assembly.”
“Congress & JD(S) clearly establish majority yet Governor hasn’t taken the decision to invite Shri Kumaraswamy to form the government. We heard that Governor may have invited BS Yeddyurappa but since it is not confirmed, we are proceeding on basis that government has not decided to invite anyone,” Congress leader P Chidambaram said.
8:06 pm | According to reports, a BJP lawmaker has claimed that BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa will take oath as Karnataka Chief Minister tomorrow (Thursday).
8:03 pm | Meanwhile, reports are suggesting that Congress may approach Supreme Court for an immediate hearing if the decision does not come in their favour.
7:27 pm | As developments continue to take place in Karnataka over the government formation, the state Governor is expected to announce his decision by 8 pm tonight, say reports. The governor is seeking legal advice from Soli Sorabjee and Mukul Rohatgi.
6:05 pm | Congress party has booked close to 102 rooms for the MLAs who will be residing there till the time there is some clarity on the government formation in Karnataka. The rooms have been booked in Eagleton Resort.
6:00 pm | As efforts by all three leading parties continue to form the government, three BJP MLAs have alleged that their phones have been tapped. In a letter written to the Home Ministry, the MLAs have said that this against their right to have privacy.
05:51 pm | Addressing the media after meeting the governor, JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy said, “We have submitted the necessary documents which show that we have the numbers required to form the government. He (Governor of Karnataka) promised he will consider according to the Constitution.”
05:21 pm | Amid the drama over the government formation in Karnataka, reports suggest that BJP may also move its MLAs to a resort.
05:17 pm | While JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy is present at Raj Bhavan, there are protests happening at governor’s house. Meanwhile, Congress leader D Shivakumar is present at KPCC. The JDS has reiterated that they numbers are intact and they have the numbers to form the government.
04:45 pm | Janata Dal Secular president HD Kumaraswamy has reached Raj Bhavan to meet Governor Vajubhai Vala along with a delegation that consists of other JDS and Congress leaders.
Earlier, Congress MLAs were spotted leaving for the Raj Bhavan from Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office.
03:40 pm | Governor of Karnataka Vajubhai Vala will meet the leaders of Congress and Janata Dal Secular at 5 pm today. The crucial meeting will take place at Raj Bhawan.
03:15 pm | If the sources are to be believed then Congress and JDS MLAs will sit on a dharna outside Raj Bhawan tomorrow if they are not invited by the Governor. There are also reports that MPs may also join them.
03:00 pm | Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad addressed media late afternoon where he said that a delegation of Congress has been seeking an appointment with the Governor of Karnataka since 12-12:30 pm so they can hand over two letters – one of legislator party of Congress and another of legislator party of JDS. He further claimed that they haven’t received any message from the Governor so far.
“Stealing of MLAs shouldn’t be allowed. No governor can go against the Constitution. We can’t tell you whom we’ll approach and whom not. At this juncture, we’ve complete faith in the Governor that he’ll go by the Constitution and not party politics,” added Ghulam Nabi Azad on if Congress will go for a legal option.
02: 45 pm— Congress-JDS will meet Governor Vajubhai Vala at 4pm to submit signature of MLAs supporting HD Kumaraswamy.
02: 30 pm—
02: 15 pm— All 78 Congress MLAs are together, says DK ShivKumar
02: 10 pm— Karnataka Congress chief G Parameshwara said that all the MLAs are intact. Some of the MLAs came late because they came in a special flight from Bidar.
01: 55 pm— Union Minister Prakash Javadekar denies allegations of horse-trading, calls it imaginary. “Congress-JD(S) have come together by unholy means. The BJP does not deal in horse-trading. This is the desperation of the Congress and JD(S). Rs 100 crore and Rs 200 crore figures are imaginary,” says Javadekar.
01: 40 pm— Congress took a jibe on BJP through a tweet.
01: 30 pm— Congress leader says will move Supreme Court if the governor invites BJP to form the government, says reports
01:27 pm— Congress leader CM Ibrahim said, “We are going to the governor with signatures of 117 MLAs. We will form the government. There is an SC order. The government will have to allow us to form the government and we will”.
01:25 pm— KPCC chief G Parameshwara leaves for Raj Bhavan.
01:10 pm— Congress MLA TD Rajegowda claimed that he got a call from BJP but he don’t bother about it. He has said them not to call them. I am a committed Congress person.
01: 06 pm—”This is a bogus news. No Javadekar, no BJP leader has met me till now, says HD Kumaraswamy.
01: 05 pm—
12: 56 pm— “Who is Prakash Javadeker,” says JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy.
12: 55 pm—
12: 50 pm—
12: 45 pm—
12: 40 pm— Governor to invite BS Yedyurappa to form government in Karnataka, say reports
12: 40 pm—
12: 31 pm—
12: 30 pm— HD Kumaraswamy announces to stick with Congress
12: 20 pm—Janata Dal Secular leader Kumaraswamy addressing the presser.
12: 15 pm— “When it comes to proving the majority, party has to show numbers, we will do that for sure. I can’t speak openly but we will definitely prove the majority. It is BJP who was given the mandate by people,” says Bhagwanth Khuba, BJP
12:00 am— “I’ll inform you after I receive letter from governor,” says BS Yeddyurappa.
11: 50 am— BJP CM candidate BS Yeddyurappa address presser after meeting Karnataka Governor
11: 47 am—
11: 40 am—
11: 41 am— Congress leader MB Patil dismissed news about Congress MLAs missing.
11: 25 am— Congress was delayed as MLAs Rajshekhar Patil, Nagendra and Anand Singh could not be traced, reports NDTV.
11: 22 am— Ram Madhav take a jibe on Congress through a post on Facebook saying “Karma pays back.”
11: 20 am— JDS MLAs Raja Venkatappa Nayaka and Venkata Rao Nadagouda are missing from the JDS legislative party meeting.
11: 10 am—BJP leader and former CM BS Yeddurappa elected as legislative party leader.
11: 10 am—After Congress, JDS MLAs also claimed that BJP is trying to contact them.
11: 10 am — Former Attorney General Mukul Rohtogi said that Governor should call BJP that has emerged as the single largest party in Karnataka election results 2018.
11: 00 am— Meeting between JDS legislative party meeting started in Bengaluru.