The Supreme Court rejected the Congress-JD(S) combine plea today, which had challenged Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision to appoint BJP MLA K G Bopaiah as pro tem speaker for holding the floor test for Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa to prove his majority in the House.

The hearing began at 10:30 this morning before a bench comprising Justices AK Sikri, SA Bobde and Ashok Bhushan. Opening the arguments, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Congress-JD(S) combine, said as per convention the senior-most MLA should have been appointed as the pro tem speaker.

He said the Governor has very limited discretionary power in appointing pro tem speaker and that he would have no objection if pro tem speaker only had to administer oath to the MLAs. The senior lawyer said appointing senior-most lawmaker as pro tem speaker has been a practice in place in Commonwealth countries.

However, the bench shot back saying that there have been earlier instances where senior-most MLA has not been appointed as pro tem speaker. The Supreme Court has further ordered live broadcast of the floor test to ensure transparency in the proceedings.

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