In a big setback to the Congress party, Supreme Court has refused to stay swearing-in of BJP leader Manohar Parrikar in Goa. It however, ordered floor test in the legislative assembly on Thursday. Congress party had moved Supreme Court seeking a stay on Goa Governor Mridula Sinha’s decision to appoint Parrikar as the Chief Minister of the state and prove numbers within 15 days.
“Once the House is constituted, there will be floor test forthwith. The senior most MLA will be the protem speaker. You (Congress) will be desirous of 21 MLAs with you,” the bench said in its order directing floor test on Thursday.
Congress, which emerged a single largest party in the polls scoring 17 seats, argued they should have been invited first to stake claim at forming the government.
BJP, which scored 13 seats, has claimed the support of 8 other legislators – 3 each of MGP and Goa Forward Party and 2 independents – reaching a magic mark of 21 in 40-member assembly.
Congress had filed a petition late on Monday evening, which was mentioned at the residence of Chief Justice JS Kehar. The Supreme Court took up the matter today in a special hearing as the apex court is on Holi break for a week.
“You want floor test before oath taking and swearing-in. You don’t have even impleaded the CM. You don’t even have the affidavits of the members supporting you. So sensitive is the matter that you don’t do anything,” the bench said while hearing the petition filed by Goa CLP leader Chandrakant Kavlekar demanding stay on the swearing-in of Parrikar as the chief minister.
“If the largest political party by its own strength form government, there would be no issue left and it would finish the matter. If you don’t have, it is the bounden duty of the governor to determine who can form the government,” the bench added.
The Goa CLP leader had argued that the Congress emerged as the single largest party in the polls and under the constitutional convention, the Governor was bound to invite the single largest party to form the government and give it the opportunity to prove majority in the floor test.
Meanwhile, Parrikar had on Sunday submitted evidence before Governor, the support of 13 MLAs of the BJP, 3 MLAs of the MGP, 3 of the Goa Forward Party and two Independent MLAs.
(With inputs from the PTI)