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UPDATED at 6.40pm on 26 November 2019 with information on resignation of Devendra Fadnavis as CM and Ajit Pawar as deputy CM, which makes the apex court decision for a floor test redundent
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed open floor test of the new government in Maharashtra at 5pm on Wednesday after administrating oath to newly elected representative.
The Supreme Court gave specific directions for conduction the floor test. It says, "pro-tem speaker should be solely appointed immediately. All elected members should take oath on 27 November 2019, which exercise should be completed before 5pm. Immediately thereafter, the pro-tem speaker should conduct the floor test in order to ascertain whether the respondent no3 (Devendra Fadnavis) has the majority, and these proceedings should be conducted in accordance with law. The floor test will not be conducted by secret ballot. The proceedings have to be live telecast and appropriate arrangements are to be made to ensure the same."
The three-judge bench of Justice NV Ramana, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, said, senior most member of legislative assembly (MLA) of the house should be nominated as the pro-tem speaker and he will administrator oath to all elected MLAs on 27th November.
The pro-tem speaker will administer oath to and then conduct floor test without secret ballot, the apex court has said, adding the proceeding of the floor test would be telecast live on TV channels, the bench said.
It said, "We may note that in the present case, oath has not been administered to the elected members even though a month has elapsed since the declaration of election results. In such emergent facts and circumstances, to curtail unlawful practices such as horse trading, to avoid uncertainty and to effectuate smooth running of democracy by ensuring a stable government, we are of the considered opinion that it is necessary to pass certain interim directions in this case. In this context, it is necessary and expedient to conduct the floor test as soon as possible to determine whether the chief minister, who was administered the oath of office, has support of the majority or not."
It also observed that there is need to respect separation of jurisdictions of legislature and courts and the courts should intervene only as a last resort. "This (Maharashtra) is one such case," the bench headed by Justice Ramana said.
UPDATE: Hours after the Supreme Court ordered a floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly on Wednesday, newly sworn-in chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar both resigned, making the apex court ruling redundant.
Following the court directions, the Maharashtra governor has selected Kalidas Kolambkar from BJP as pro-tem speaker of the legislative assembly. Mr Kolambkar will administer oath to the newly elected MLAs on Wednesday at 8am.
Mr Kolambkar, an eight time MLA, started his political career with Shiv Sena and later had joined Congress along with Narayan Rane. At present, both Mr Komabkar and Mr Rane are with BJP.
Super exclusive breaking . Anti corruption bureau gives the clean chit to @AjitPawarSpeaks who was alleged involved in the Rs 70,000 Cr irrigation scam. The clean chit is given to today. This investigation file has been closed down today. #MahaPoliticalTwist #MaharashtraCrisis pic.twitter.com/LW5rDlwqIr— KattaNews (@katta_news) November 25, 2019
According to highly placed sources in Maharashtra Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), in the list of cases being circulated on social media, none of the cases belong to alleged irrigation corruption case against Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar. pic.twitter.com/HVlttfhSmM— ANI (@ANI) November 25, 2019
Maharashtra Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) DG, Parambir Singh to ANI: None of the cases that were closed today are related to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister, Ajit Pawar. pic.twitter.com/bX4KMy83Ej— ANI (@ANI) November 25, 2019