Will Seek Legal Advice Before Taking Call on SC’s Floor Test Order: Kamal Nath
NEW DELHI : Through a show of hands the legislators of Madhya Pradesh Assembly will by 5 on Friday evening decide the fate of the Kamal Nath government, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. The proceedings of the floor-test will be videographed and telecast live.
“The session of the MP Assembly that has been deferred shall be reconvened on March 20. A single agenda for the assembly — to hold floor test on March 20. Citing by show of hands,” part of the order passed by the apex court on Thursday read.
The Supreme Court passed the order while hearing the petition filed by former Madhya Pradesh CM and BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan and others to hold a floor test in the state Assembly.
The apex court bench said, “The session of the MP assembly that has been deferred shall be reconvened on March 20. A single agenda for the assembly — to hold floor test on March 20. Citing by show of hands.”
A two-judge bench, led by Justice DY Chandrachud, asked the MP Assembly to reconvene for the trust vote after it was adjourned by the Speaker on March 16 citing the Coronavirus outbreak.
The Supreme Court said that if the rebel MLAs want to come to the state Assembly, both Karnataka DGP and Madhya Pradesh DGP should provide them security.
Hours later, Nath on Thursday said his government will seek legal advice and study every aspect of the Supreme Court judgement.While the BJP publicly hailed the ruling, Nath posted his reaction on Twitter. He said, ‘We will study…every aspect of the Supreme Court order, discuss it with our legal experts and take a decision on the basis of their advise.”
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister and BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who had moved the apex court along with nine other BJP MLAs against the speaker’s decision to adjourn the House amid the coronavirus outbreak, said truth has prevailed and Nath’s government was on its way out
“Truth has prevailed, attempts to lure away MLAs by all means proved futile,” Chouhan said, adding this is a “defeat of plans” of Nath and senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh.
“The government will not be able to clear the floor test. We have full faith that this government will fall in the floor test. After that, the path will be cleared for the formation of a new government in the state,” the former CM said while talking to reporters in Bhopal.
Gopal Bhargava, Leader of Opposition, Madhya Pradesh, said it was necessary the MLAs who were kidnapped be present here. Assembly is bound to obey the Supreme Court’s order. We are sure and ready.”
Responding to the demand made by the assembly speaker, who had demanded a time of two weeks to decide on the issue of floor test, Justice Chandrachud said, “Weeks are gold mines for horse-trading. It is why the court has been proactive in ordering the floor tests. The idea is to force the hands and make sure the floor test happens as soon as possible and prevent such things.”
Over the past two days, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Speaker NP Prajapati, and Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of Chief Minister Kamal Nath, had argued against immediate floor-test.
Singhvi had argued that since the ruling government in Madhya Pradesh was not a newly installed government, the only provision to verify the majority of the state government was to bring in the no-confidence motion. Sibal had argued that the 16 rebel MLAs had resigned from the Assembly but had not quit the party and were still members of the Congress.
The two had argued that only the speaker had the power to decide on the fate of the assembly. While Mukul Rohatgi, appearing on behalf of the BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan, had claimed that any delay would heighten the possibility of horse-trading.
Speaking to Media Nath had claimed that he was in touch with “most of the ‘rebel’ MLAs”. He said that after “these MLAS released these messages,” referring to video messages released by some of the ‘rebel’ MLAs, “they called me to say that they have been forced to record those videos… that is why I’m confident about my numbers.”
A total of 22 Congress MLAs, including six ministers, had resigned last week putting the government on the brink of collapse. Of them the speaker had accepted resignations of 6 MLAs who were considered close to Jyotiraditya Scindia who recently switched over from Congress to the BJP.