New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday night agreed to hear at 1:45 a.m. the petition filed by the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) challenging Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision to invite the BJP to form the government in the southern state.
The Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has constituted a bench comprising Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan to hear the matter.
The joint petition by the Congress and the JD (S) has sought a stay on the oath-taking ceremony, as communicated by the governor to the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa.
In a midnight legal push, the Congress had approached the Supreme Court seeking an immediate intervention by the chief justice to stay the move, which it termed as an “encounter of the Constitution”.
The Congress urged Misra to hold an urgent hearing on Wednesday itself since Yeddyurappa is slated to take oath as chief minister at 9 a.m. on Thursday.
Senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said the party sought a hearing on its petition challenging the governor’s decision tonight itself.
The Congress termed the governor’s decision as “murder of democracy and trampling of Constitution”.
Earlier on Wednesday evening, Vala invited Yeddyurappa to form the government and take oath as chief minister on Thursday. He also asked Yeddyurappa to seek a vote of confidence within 15 days of assuming office.
Singhvi, who has been assigned the task to lead Congress’ legal challenge against Vala’s decision, had met the Supreme Court registrar to take forward the process to hear the “urgent petition”.
The Congress has termed the move to form a BJP government in Karnataka as “illegal and against the law and constitution.”
The petition prepared by advocate Dev Dutt Kamath contended that despite presenting the list of 116 MLAs, Vala has invited the BJP, which has 104 MLAs, to form the government and has given the relatively longer time of 15 days to prove his majority on the floor of the House.
The petition, it is learnt, has also stated that an order should be passed for inviting the Congress to form the government.
Kamath and other advocates earlier met the registrar for putting the petition before CJI Misra for constituting the bench.
Sources said the BJP has also kept a team of senior advocates, including C S Vaidyanathan, ready to represent the party.
The Congress has also said that granting 15 days’ time to Yeddyurappa to prove majority on the floor of the House will promote horse trading, alleging that BJP will resort to poaching of MLAs of Congress and JD(S).
The BJP has emerged as the single largest party in the southern state winning 104 seats, but is short of a simple majority.
On the other hand, the Congress and JD(S), which have already announced a post-poll tie-up, have won 78 and 37 seats, respectively, and claimed before Vala to have the numbers to form a government in the state.