Hours before the swearing-in ceremony, the Supreme Court made it clear that the swearing-in and the government formation would be subject to its final order on the Congress-JD(S) petition before it.
A three-judge bench, comprising justices A.K. Sikri, S.A. Bobde and Ashok Bhushan, directed that the letter sent by the Bharatiya Janata Party to Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala for forming the government be placed before it. The bench posted the matter for further hearing at 10.30 am Friday, saying it will peruse the letter as it was necessary to decide the matter. It also issued notices to the Karnataka government and Yeddyurappa.
Here are the highlights from the post-midnight Karnataka Supreme Court hearing:
■ 5.47 am: Supreme Court issues notice to Karnataka government and Yeddyurappa on Congress-JD(S) petition, directs letter sent by the BJP to Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala be placed before it. “It is necessary to peruse letter sent by the BJP to governor to decide the matter," said the three-judge bench.
■ 5.34 am: Supreme Court refuses to stay swearing-in ceremony of B.S. Yeddyurappa as chief minister of Karnataka, matter to be next heard at 10.30 am on Friday.
■ 5.21 am: Number of days to be given to Yeddyurappa to prove majority can be debated after two days, Mukul Rohatgi tells Supreme Court.
■ 5.04 am: The Supreme bench is of the view that since Yeddyurappa has not made his appearance through an advocate before it, a notice has to be issued to him. Singhvi says Yeddyurappa has been heard in proxy through two BJP MLAs for whom Mukul Rohatgi has appeared in the case, hearing for which began at 2.11 am and was still on. The lawyers were still inside the courtroom.
5.03 am: Abhishek Manu Singhvi pleads the bench not to dictate the final order and sought to argue the matter further. Continuing with his submission, he says the swearing-in could be extended from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm on Thursday and that the BJP should be asked to produce the letter of support from majority of MLAs submitted to the governor for forming the government.
4.56 am: The Supreme Court says it was not in favour of deferring BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in as Karnataka chief minister, even as the Congress and JD (S) continued their past-midnight legal push to stall the government formation in the state. “As far as swearing-in is concerned, we are not restraining it, but we are making it subject to the outcome of the case," said the three-judge bench.
4.29 am: Supreme Court says swearing-in and government formation would be subject to outcome of petition before it.
■ 4.25 am: Supreme Court refuses to defer Yeddyurappa swearing-in ceremony as the Karnataka chief minister as ordered by the governor Vajubhai Vala. Singhvi pursuing Supreme Court bench not to dictate order.
■ 4.07 am: The question is can there be an injunction against the Karnataka governor, Mukul Rohatgi tells Supreme Court.
■ 4.04 am: Dismiss right away the Congress petition against Karnataka governor’s invite for Yeddyurappa swearing-in as it is misconceived, BJP lawyer Mukul Rohatgi tells Supreme Court.
■ 3.59 am: Mukul Rohatgi, presenting the BJP’s case now, says the Supreme Court can reduce time period from 15 to 10 or 7 days for the BJP to prove majority.
■ 3.55 am: “We don’t know whether Yeddyurappa will face floor test. Congress-JD(S) should not have filed petition and waited for outcome of floor test," says attorney general K.K. Venugopal.
■ 3.53 am: Attorney general K.K. Venugopal says swearing-in subject to outcome of floor test and Supreme Court can hear the matter of Karnataka government formation after that.
■ 3.51 am: Supreme Court asks why has Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala given 15 days for floor test.
■ 3.48 am: If Congress-JD(S) alliance outweigh BJP in number (of seats), how are they (BJP) claiming majority, asks Supreme Court.
■ 3.47 am: It is preposterous to argue before MLAs take oath they are not amenable to anti-defection law; means open invitation to horse trading, says Supreme Court.
■ 3.39 am: Attorney General of India K.K. Venugopal starts argument before Supreme Court bench, says whole thing in grey area; it is in realm of scrutiny.
■ 3.38 am: Unless we see BJP’s letter, we do not know what kind of majority it has; we can’t speculate, says the three-judge Supreme Court bench.
■ 3.30 am: Former attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, who is representing the BJP, says matter should not have been heard at all at this point of time; it is absolutely wrong.
■ 3.25 am: Supreme Court asks Singhvi to wind up arguments as he has already argued for more than an hour. Singhvi seeks few more minutes.
■ 3.16 am: Supreme Court asks Singhvi is it not convention that single largest party gets invited by governor to form the government and prove majority.
■ 3.15 am: General trend of past Supreme Court judgements is not to issue injunction to governor or to restrain governor, says the three-bench.
■ 3.13 am: You want us to scrutinise discretion of Guv but you don’t have letter given to governor which found basis for inviting the BJP, Supreme Court tells Congress’s Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
■ 03.05 am: The General trend of past Supreme Court judgement is not to issue injunction to governor or to restrain governor, says the Supreme Court bench. Singhvi says under the Constitution, immunity is given to the governor only for discharge of duties.
■ 2.59 am: “We are wondering whether Supreme Court can restrain the governor that might lead to constitutional vacuum in state," the three-judge bench observes.
■ 2.50 am: Supreme Court asks who is in-charge today in Karnataka. Congress’s Singhvi says the caretaker government.
■ 2.49 am: Supreme Court asks can the apex court restrain a governor from inviting a party to form the government. Singhvi says it has done so in the past.
■ 2.42 am: Supreme Court asks is it not convention that single largest party gets invited by the governor to form the government and prove majority.
■ 2.37 am: It is the biggest licence to poaching if the governor gives 15 days to BJP to prove majority; in earlier such cases 48 hours were given by the Supreme Court, says Singhvi.
■ 2.32 am: Singhvi said that the Congress was deprived to form the government in Goa despite being the single largest party, and the Supreme Court had upheld the government formation by the BJP. The governor negated democracy by not calling the Congress-JD(S) alliance commanding a majority in Karnataka, he added.
■ 2.26 am: “BJP has 104 MLAs and governor invited Yeddyurappa to form the government in an “unconstitutional manner", said Singhvi during the ongoing hearing, adding that the Congress-JD(S) alliance has 116 MLAs. Rohatgi, on his part, said no injunction can be issued to the governor.
■ 2.03 am: The Congress is being represented by senior party leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the BJP by former attorney general Mukul Rohatgi and the government by additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta.
■ 2.00 am: Supreme Court begins hearing the Congress-JD(S)’s petition against the Karnataka governor’s decision to invite the BJP to form the next government.