New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Saturday commenced the crucial hearing on Congress-JD(S) combine’s petition challenging 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 am before a bench comprising justices A.K. Sikri, S.A. Bobde and Ashok Bhushan which was hearing the crisis in Karnataka after the elections which delivered a fractured verdict.

Opening the arguments, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Congress-JD(S) combine, said as per convention the senior-most MLA should be appointed pro tem speaker. He said the governor has very limited discretionary power in appointing pro tem speaker and “we would have no objection if pro tem speaker only had to administer oath to the MLAs, the problem is here he is also holding the floor test".

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 “there have been earlier instances where senior-most MLA has not been appointed as pro tem speaker".

“If you (Sibal) are casting aspersions on the pro tem speaker then we will have to issue notice to him and postpone the floor test," the bench said. The hearing is continuing.