No floor test for now as Supreme Court first asks Centre to submit letter of support relied upon by Governor to invite BJP to form government

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The Supreme Court on Sunday directed the central government to produce the letters that the Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had relied upon to invite the BJP to form a government in the state on Saturday. The Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna, however, did not take a call on the petition filed by the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress requesting for a floor test within the next 24 hours.

Supreme Court

The top court has asked the government to produce the letter of support by 10.30 AM on Monday. The court has also asked the government to produce the letter by Devendra Fadnavis claiming a majority while staking his claim to form the government.

“Issue involved is whether the Governor’s decision dated 23/11/19 inviting them to form government is unconstitutional. For the adjudication of this issue, we request Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to produce the two letters by tomorrow morning 10.30,”Livelaw website quoted the bench as saying.

While Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal represented the Shiv Sena during the extraordinary hearing on Sunday, Senior Advocate Dr AM Singhvi was arguing for the NCP. Senior Advocate and former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi represented the BJP, while Solicitor General Tushar Mehta batted for the government.

Referring to previous instances in similar situations, more recently in Karnataka, the petitions urged the Supreme Court to order an immediate floor test arguing that this was the best method to display majority inside the assembly.

The petitioners asked how the government formed by Devendra Fadnavis could sustain when 41 out of 56 NCP MLAs had openly stated that they did not support Ajit Pawar, who took the oath of office as the new Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra in a hurriedly-held swearing-in ceremony on Saturday morning.

The Governor had stunned everyone on Saturday when he administered the oath of office to the BJP early in the morning. Many wondered how this could stand the constitutional test given that the state was under President’s Rule and the revocation of President’s Rule required the approval of the Union Cabinet.

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