SC allows BJP’s K.G. Bopaiah to continue as Pro-tem Speaker
New Delhi: Live- streaming of the Karnataka floor test is the best way to ensure transparent proceedings, the Supreme Court (SC) said this morning, rejecting a Congress petition to remove BJP’s K.G. Bopaiah as interim Speaker (Pro-tem Speaker) for Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s trust vote later today.
The Congress had asked the SC last evening to cancel Bopaiah’s appointment by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala. The party today raised questions in Court about fairness in the trust vote under Bopaiah, given his track record of helping Yeddyurappa survive a floor test in 2010.
“Just giving oath is fine but if Bopaiah has to supervise trust votes, it’s a problem,” senior lawyer and Congress leader Kapil Sibal said.
The Congress also argued that he is not the senior-most law-maker in the House. The Court said there had been instances in the past when the Pro-tem Speaker was not the senior-most.
On Sibal’s argument on Bopaiah’s past record, the Court replied: “If you (Sibal) are casting aspersions on Pro-tem Speaker, then we will have to issue notice to him and postpone the floor test.” The Court termed as “fair” the suggestion of Governor Vajubhai Vala’s lawyer that the floor test be telecast live.
Responding to Justice Sikri’s question on who will oversee the floor test, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said: “Floor test will be telecast live by local channels. What more transparency do they need? Cameras would be by the channels.”
Justice Sikri responded: “Videography of the floor test will serve the purpose. They are giving access to all local channels. Now let us enjoy our holidays. Our problem is solved.”
“We may place on record the statement by Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for State and Governor, that there would be live telecast of the proceedings in the Legislative Assembly in respect of the floor test. Secretary of Legislative Assembly will record the floor test and provide live feed to several local channels which will simultaneously telecast the footage. Mehta states several local channels have been permitted to get the feed. No other item on the agenda will be taken up during the trust vote,” the Court said.