Posted on November 26, 2019, 12:46 PM IST
To end the ongoing political turmoil in Maharashtra SC has ordered instantaneous floor test as the most efficient tool to ward off horse-trading the on Wednesday in the Maharashtra assembly through open voting.
A judicial bench headed by Justice NV Ramana made it clear that it is crucial for Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to establish majority on the floor of the House before he begins his second term as the CM of Maharashtra.
"In a situation wherein, if the floor-test is delayed, there is a possibility of horse trading, it becomes incumbent upon the Court to act to protect democratic values. An immediate floor-test, in such a case, might be the most effective mechanism to do so," said the bench also including Justices Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna.
Issuing the provisional directives on the petition filed jointly by Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP, the bench said the Protem Speaker shall administer the oath of office to all the members of the House by 5pm on Wednesday.
"Immediately thereafter, the Protem Speaker shall conduct the floor-test in order to ascertain whether the Respondent No. 3 (Fadnavis) has the majority, and these proceedings shall be conducted in accordance with law,” ordered the bench.
It added: “The floor-test will not be conducted by secret ballot. The proceedings have to be live telecast, and appropriate arrangements are to be made to ensure the same."
The judicial bench also discarded a compliance made by Fadnavis’ lawyer Mukul Rohatgi that court should not hinder in the business of the legislative assembly, noting there have been not just precedents but also the provision itself carves out circumstances where judicial enquiry is authoritative.
"We may note that in the present case, oath has not been administered to the elected members even though a month has elapsed since the declaration of election results. In such emergent facts and circumstances, to curtail unlawful practices such as horse trading, to avoid uncertainty and to effectuate smooth running of democracy by ensuring a stable Government, we are of the considered opinion that it is necessary to pass certain interim directions in this case," maintained the senior bench while ordering the floor-test.
The SC played unambiguous to the larger questions of law and maintained that a looming floor-test was the need of the hour.