New Delhi/ Bengaluru:
A three-judge bench is hear the Congress-JDS petition in Supreme Court
In a big setback for the Congress, the Supreme Court has refused to stay the swearing-in ceremony
of BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa, in an unprecedented overnight hearing. Mr Yeddyurappa had been invited by Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala, last evening, to form government in Karnataka and was given 15 days to prove majority on the floor of the house. The Congress wanted the governor's decision to be cancelled, calling it an "encounter of the Constitution". The BJP contends that it should be allowed to form the government as it is the single largest party. The Congress disputes the claim, citing the precedent set by the BJP in Goa and Manipur last year. In both states, the Congress emerged as the single-largest party but the BJP cobbled up alliances and was invited to form the government.
Here are the live updates on race for government formation in Karnataka:
"They have asked the government to produce that letter of 15th May, which Yeddyurappa had given to the Governor (Karnataka), at 10:30 am tomorrow": Counsel for petitioners Congress and JDS
"As far as swearing-in is concerned, we are not restraining it, but we are making it subject to the outcome of the case," the three-judge bench, comprising justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan, said.
Supreme Court also asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to produce letters written by BS Yeddyurappa to governor to stake claim.
Supreme to advocates: "Have a good day!"
Supreme Court to further hear the case at 10.30 am on Friday, reports NDTV's A Vaidyanathan.
On Supreme Court verdict, BJP's Karnataka unit tweets, "Democracy wins."
In its order, Supreme Court refuses to stay swearing-in of BS Yeddyurappa.
Supreme Court order on the Congress-JDS petition will be pronounced shortly.
Supreme Court observes that it can't stop a chief minister from swearing-in.
Arguments are still on in Supreme Court after about three hours of hearing.
Mukul Rohatgi, citing Goa's case, says though the Congress was single largest party it didn't stake claim, so the BJP was called.
Supreme Court says, "What do you say on number of days?"
Mukul Rohatgi says, "The number of days can be debated after two days."
He further argues, "What's the urgency of this case. This is not a case of hanging like Yakub Memon."
Supreme Court says swearing-in and government formation would be subject to outcome of petition before it.
Supreme Court did not dismiss the petition filed by Congress and JDS and said, "This petition is a subject of hearing later on." Supreme Court also issued a notice to respondents including BJP's BS Yeddyurappa, asking to file a reply, reports news agency ANI.
Mr Singhvi continues his arguments, says "Defer swearing-in for at least till 4.30 and ask Mr Yeddyurappa to produce the letter he gave to the governor."
Mr Singvi says, "Don't stay the swearing-in but defer it for two days."
Abhishek Singhvi says, "Why doesn't Supreme Court defer swearing in Yeddyurappa is not here but two of BJP MLAs came to court."
Mukul Rohatgi objects to it. Mr Singhvi objects to Mr Rohatgi.
Judges say that "we are allergic to these arguments"
Supreme Court says swearing-in will go on.
Mukul Rohatgi cites Uttarakhan's instance and says that Harish Rawat government was restored by the High Court.
It is over two hours now that the Supreme Court is hearing the case.
Supreme Court can reduce time period from 15 to 10 or 7 days for BJP to prove majority: Mukul Rohatgi tells Supreme Court.
Mukul Rohatgi, continuing his arguments, says, "Supreme Court can't ask governor to file affidavit and can't issue notice."
Supreme Court says: Is this your interpretation that governor action amenable but the governor as individual not answerable to court?
Mukul Rohatgi replies, "Yes." He adds, "Governor can't be stopped to do his job. It is unheard of."
Mukul Rohatgi argues that Congress wants injunction and wants governor not to discharge his function. He says "Action of swearing can always be reversed by Supreme Court."
He adds: Question is can court stop governor from discharging his constitutional duty? Can Supreme Court stop President from signing warrant of appointing judges?
He further argues, "Job of governor is to give oath - whether right or wrong."
Abhishek Singhvi says, Mr Rohatgi's clients are two MLAs and who are not parties to the case and Mr Yeddyurappa's lawyer is not here.
Attorney General KK Venugopal concludes his arguments. Now Mukul Rohatgi, who is representing two BJP MLAs, begins his arguments.
Attorney General argues the the time given to BJP for proving majority can be reduced to seven days.
Mr Venugopal says, "Waiting for 15 days heavens will not fall. What's the purpose of stopping the swearing-in? Let the floor test take place."
Supreme Court says, "Your argument is floor test will fail." Mr Venugopal replies: "We don't know."
Supreme Court says, "What's bothering us is the fluid situation."
Mr Venugopal argues that even if swearing-in takes place it is reversible. Once the floor test takes place real picture will be known.
Supreme Court asks that why 15 days were given by the governor. Mr Venugopal replies, "It is governor's decision."
Supreme Court observes that JDS and Congress outweigh BJP. In a situation like this on what basis Mr Yeddyurappa has staked claimed. The arithmetic defies in what way he was invited to form government.
Attorney General KK Venugopal argues, "Defection is one member crosses to other party. Defection law won't apply before he is swearing in as MLA."
Supreme Court replies, "You mean before swearing in MLAs can switch sides?" It adds that in a case like this how you will have more numbers when the other side has already given 116 to governor.
"Heavens won't fall if someone is sworn in. Last time Supreme Court heard in night, the case related to hanging of Yakub Memon": Mukul Rohatgi argues in Supreme Court.
Top government lawyers -- Advocate General KK Venugopal, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Maninder Singh are in Supreme Court.
Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for two BJP MLAs, says that this case should have never been taken up at midnight.
To this, Supreme Court says, "On what basis you are claiming?"
Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for Congress-JDS, completes his arguments.
Mr Singhvi continues his argument, says, "Governor doesn't give any reason in calling BJP. Claim of BS Yeddyurappa is leader of BJP whereas Kumaraswamy is claiming Congress support."
He adds, "Unless Supreme Court sees Mr Yeddyurappa's letter to the governor, the court can defer the swearing-in." He asks, "On what basis the governor invited BS Yeddyurappa."
Supreme Court To Abhishek Manu Singhvi: You want us to scrutinise discretion of governor but you don't have letter given to governor which found basis for inviting BJP.
Supreme Court asks Mr Singhvi to wind up arguments as he has already argued for more than an hour. Mr Singhvi seeks few more minutes.
Mr Singhvi, who is arguing the case for over an hour now, says, "Governor exercise of government duty is under judicial review. Court can question governor." He adds, "Supreme Court can defer the swearing-in"
Mr Singvi cites instances of Meghalaya, Manipur and Goa, where though Congress was the single-largest party but BJP and other parties were invited to form government.
Supreme Court says, "We don't even have the letter other party has written to governor. How can we decide?"
Supreme Court to Mr Singhvi: "The argument is court should not issue injunction and judicial review is not the question."
Mr Singhvi says, "Governor action is subject to judicial review."
Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for BJP, argues that court can never stop a governor from performing any act.
Mr Singhvi says, "One can argue before swearing-in of MLAs there can be defection. Swearing-in is an executive act."
To this the Supreme Court replies, "It has to be considered whether court could restrain a governor?"
Books have been sought from Supreme Court library for reference.
Mr Singhvi argues that unless BJP claim defection they can't have majority. To this Supreme Court says that it would be covered by anti-defection law.
Abhishek Singhvi says, "104 ahead of 116 is adding insult to injury." He further argues, "Giving 15 days is encouraging unconstitutional sin of poaching."
Mr Singhvi says, "Governor can't negate democracy and after the swearing in happens I can't come to Supreme Court." He adds that 15 days granted to BS Yeddyurappa is unheard of. "It is elementary common sense on numbers."
Mr Singhvi argues, "Should the person (BS Yeddyurappa) be given 15 days for proving majority?"
Mr Singhvi says, "We are challenging the act of governor not calling us."
Mr Singvi argues that innumerable instances are there where combination of post-poll group was called despite there was a different single largest party. He says that one such case was Goa led by BJP outnumbering single largest party and the Supreme Court had upheld this.
Mr Singhvi says HD Kumaraswamy wrote to governor saying he has Congress support and staked claim. After that Mr Kumaraswamy also sent signatures of MLAs to Governor, following which Congress also sent signatures of its MLAs to governor. But at 9pm governor invited BS Yeddyurappa to form government.
Attorney general KK Venugopal also reaches Supreme Court.
Youth Congress workers are now staging protest outside Parliament.
Abhishek Singhvi argues that 112 is the majority and Congress-JDS combine is at 117.
BJP's Mukul Rohatgi argues that governor can not be a party to the case. He says that court can't stop governor from swearing-in.
Justice AK Sikri, Justice A Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan arrives in court number 6. Hearing begins.
In court number 6, where the hearing will happen, more media persons are present than advocates.
Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi is representing the BJP in the case. This is his second midnight case. He had appeared for centre in Yakub Menon case, reports NDTV's A Vaidyanathan.
The Congress-JDS petition prepared by advocate Dev Dutt Kamath contended that despite presenting the list of 116 MLAs, governor Vajubhai Vala has invited the BJP which has 104 MLAs to form the government and has given relatively longer time of 15 days to prove the majority on the floor of the House.
ASG Tushar Mehta is representing the central government in the case.
Union Home Ministry has been made party to the case. Hearing will now be held at court number 6.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta reaches Supreme Court.
Battle for Karnataka shifts to Delhi, hearing on Congress-JDS petition to begin shortly at Supreme Court. Three-judge bench to hear the plea challenging Karnataka governor's invite to BJP to form government in the state.
Justice AK Sikri, Justice A Bobde and Justice Ashok Bhushan to hear Congress-JDS plea in Supreme Court.
Three-judge bench to hear Congress-JDS petition in Supreme Court.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Supreme Court agreeing to hear Congress-JDS petition: "Irrespective of merits, very gracious of Supreme Court to fix hearing at 1:45 am at court number 2. Shows justice never sleeps and accessibility is 24x7, where merits so demand. Which apex court in world allows such accessibility?"
The hearing will be held in court number 2 of the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court to hear JDS-Congress petition at 1:45 am.
Midnight drama continues on government formation in Karnataka, Congress lawyer Abhishek Singhvi heads to Chief Justice Dipak Misra's residence.
Member of Congress legal team Javed says, "BJP has 104 seats, how will they prove majority on floor, even if they get some Independent MLAs?"
Supreme Court registrar arrives at the residence of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
Supreme Court registrar reaches Chief Justice Dipak Misra's residence in Delhi.
Supreme Court registrar is currently scrutinising the petition filed by Congress. If the Registrar agrees to the urgency of the petition then he will take the it to Chief Justice Dipak Misra's residence.
NDTV's Monideepa Banerjie reports that 30 members of Anglo Indian community will stage "dharna" outside Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru from at 9.30 am tomorrow. In letter to the Karnataka governor "the Anglo Indian community urged him to protect their constitutional rights by not allowing any political party or group to use this nomination to seek political advantage for its own gain or benefit."
Heavy security outside the residence of BS Yeddyurappa in Bengaluru.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav tweets on Karnataka:"If single largest party is being invited inspite of INC & JDS alliance having more numbers than required then we demand Hon. President to dismiss Bihar govt thru Governor & invite single largest party of Bihar to form govt as BJP is in Bihar govt due to post poll alliance."
High security at the residence of Chief Justice Dipak Misra in New Delhi.
After Karnataka governor invited BJP to form government in the state, JDS leader HD Kumarasway says, "By giving 15 days time (to prove majority) governor is encouraging horse-trading by BJP leaders, this is unconstitutional. We will discuss the future plan."
Congress leader and lawyer Abhishek Singhvi representing Congress in the top court. The Congress had earlier decided to approach the Supreme Court if BJP was invited to form government.
Congress moves Supreme Court as governor invites BJP to form government in Karnataka. Party approaches Chief justice for urgent hearing.
Former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha tweets on Karnataka political turmoil: "I am glad I have left the party which is so brazenly trying to subvert democracy in Karnataka. It will do the same if it fails to get majority in Lok Sabha next year. Pl note my warning."
Mr Surjewala says, "Amit Shah and BJP today sanctioned an encounter of the constitution and the law. Governor has subjugated the law and shamed the office of governor and I don't think such a person has the right to continue."
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala addresses media, says, "The letter shows that even the governor doesn't believe they have the majority." He adds, "If two parties can't come together in a post poll alliance, then how did you form a government in Manipur?"
Addressing media in Delhi, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad says, "Let Congress not advise us." He adds that Congress keep talking about Supreme Court judgement but Supreme Court has said that the platform of Vidhan Sabha is the only forum where majority can be tested.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to address media in Delhi shortly.
Governor Vajubhai Vala's letter inviting BJP to form government.
BJP addresses media in Bengaluru, party leader Basavaraj Bommai says, "Official communication has been received from the governor. Governor has given 15 days to prove majority. BS Yeddyurappa will take oath at 9:00 am."
Raj Bhavan official reaches BS Yeddyurappa's house with letter inviting BJP to form government.
BJP's Karnataka unit tweets again, says swearing-in at 9 am.
Former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee says there is a possibility president's rule in Karnataka.
"Swearing in will go on, tweets deleted because of a likely change in timing," says BJP Spokesperson Vaman Acharya on NDTV's Left, Right and Centre.
Now, BJP spokesperson Sureshkumar deletes his tweet on governor inviting BS Yeddyurappa for swearing-in.
After an intense election, new Congress lawmakers in Karnataka are in for a paid holiday at a five-star resort. The party, worried about losing its lawmakers in the fierce race for numbers, has moved them to the Eagleton Golf Resort near Bengaluru. They arrived a few while back.