Karnataka: SC asks how Yeddyurappa convinced governor of numbers

The three-judge bench will resume its hearing in the matter tomorrow

yeddyurappa-governor-vajubhai-bhanu Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala (right) after administering the oath of office to newly sworn-in Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa in Bengaluru | Bhanu Prakash Chandra

The Supreme Court may have refused to stop the swearing-in of BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa as chief minister of Karnataka, but in its unprecedented hearing held in the wee hours of Thursday to decide on a petition filed by the Congress-JD(S) combine to challenge Governor Vajubhai Vala's decision to invite Yeddyurappa to take the oath of office, the apex court showed keen interest in knowing on what basis the BJP leader convinced the governor about having the numbers to prove majority in the assembly.

The three-judge bench comprising Justices A.K. Sikri, S.A. Bobde and Ashok Bhushan, after completing an over three-hour hearing on the dramatic political developments in Karnataka, seemed to suggest that the case now hinges on the communication made by Yeddyurappa to the governor, based on which the constitutional authority invited him to take oath as chief minister.

“After hearing the parties, we are of the opinion that it is necessary to peruse the letters dated 15th May 2018 and 16th May 2018 submitted by the respondent no. 3 (Yeddyurappa) to the Governor which found a mention in the communication dated 16th May 2018 of the Hon'ble Governor. We request the learned Attorney General and/or respondent no. 3 to produce these letters on the next date of hearing,” the court said in its order.

The letters are expected to communicate to the governor how Yeddyurappa was convinced that he had the support of the majority of members of the state assembly.

The charge made by the Congress and the JD(S) in their petition is that while the BJP is the single largest party, its numbers stand at 104, which is eight short of the majority figure. The two parties contend that they had, as a post-poll alliance, first staked claim before the governor to form the next government, providing him with evidence of support of 116 MLAs, which is four more than the magic figure.

The court has also said in its order that in case Yeddyurappa is given oath, till it gives its final order in the matter, that shall be subject to its further orders.

The three-judge bench will resume its hearing in the matter tomorrow.