Pro tem Speaker: One plea Congress lost, amid jokes about judges’ holiday

The Supreme Court rejected Saturday an attempt by the Congress-JD(S) to stall the appointment of K G Bopaiah as pro tem Speaker in Karnataka for B S Yeddyurappa’s floor test, which he did not face.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan asked the petitioners, Congress state president K G Parameshwara and JD(S) president H D Kumaraswamy, who contended that the “convention” was to appoint the most senior member of the House as pro tem Speaker, “Unless convention has become a legal norm which can be enforced by a court, how can we do anything?”
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioners, contended that the appointment was against the convention. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi (appearing for Yeddyurappa) and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta (appearing for the state government) cited earlier instances where juniors were appointed pro tem Speaker. Justice Bobde questioned Sibal’s contention and said, “The authority is doubtful. I don’t want to contradict. But please check the case of Balasaheb Vikhe Patil (as pro tem Speaker)… Sheesh Ram Ola was senior… I think it’s the 14th Lok Sabha.”
Sibal said the floor test can go on. “Let him take oath but let him not take the trust vote.”
Justice Sikri pointed out that it was the petitioners who had wanted it to appoint a pro tem Speaker at the last hearing. Sibal replied, “Yesterday we didn’t see this glitch”.
Said Justice Bobde, “You are coming from a zone of contradictions as we see it.” “Supposing for argument, we accept your request, where does it take us,” asked Justice Sikri. “Who will conduct floor test then… Should we appoint… No, we can’t.”
The court turned down Sibal’s submission that it could ask the Governor to do so.