KG Bopaiah, the Karnataka pro-tem Speaker, addresses MLAs at Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru. (Source: ANI)

Supreme Court Rejects Congress-JD(S) Plea Challenging Appointment Of Pro-Tem Speaker

The Supreme Court today rejected the plea by the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) challenging the appointment of KG Bopaiah as the pro-tem speaker of the Karnataka Assembly.

The apex court ruled that Bopaiah will continue as the pro-tem speaker of the assembly and that the floor test will go on as scheduled at 4 p.m. The apex court gave the go-ahead to telecast the proceedings live, as requested by the counsels of the petitioners. “Live broadcast of the floor test would be the best way to ensure transparency of the proceedings,” the three-judge bench of Justice AK Sikri, Justice SA Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan noted.

The Congress party argued that the pro-tem speaker, as per the convention, is the senior-most member of the assembly. The party contended that the number of terms, and not age, should be used to define seniority. The Congress also claimed that there had been strictures passed against the conduct of Bopaiah in the past.

Bopaiah, 62, is a four-time MLA and had served as the pro-tem speaker in 2008, when the Yeddyurappa-led BJP government faced a similar floor test. The government had 110 seats in the 224-member house and had to rely on the support of independent candidates to bag the required numbers.

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The Supreme Court bench said that they could not pass orders against the pro-tem speaker without issuing a notice to him and giving him a chance to respond. That would mean that the floor test would have to be postponed.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted to the court that there will be videography of the floor test and that will ensure transparency.

The apex court finally allowed Bopaiah to continue as the pro-tem speaker while recording Mehta's submission that the floor test will be telecast live on television channels.

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