In an attempt to stop Manohar Parrikar from taking oath as Goa chief minister on Tuesday, the Congress rushed to the Supreme Court on Monday against governor Mridula Sinha’s decision to invite the BJP to form the government.
The Congress is the largest party with 17 seats in the 40-member assembly but the BJP with 13 seats has managed to garner support from independents and other parties to attain majority.
The governor has invited Parrikar, who resigned as defence minister on Monday, to form the next government after he submitted a letter of support from 21 legislators on Sunday.
The petition filed by the Goa Congress Legislature Party leader Chandrakant Kavlekar has contended that the governor is duty bound to invite the largest party to form the government.
Advocate Devdutt Kamat mentioned the petition before Chief Justice of India Justice JS Khehar’s residence for an urgent hearing, which the CJI agreed to hold. A bench will assemble on Tuesday morning to hear the petition despite the court being shut for Holi vacations.
Kavlekar said he was constrained to move the top court as the governor in a “blatant unconstitutional act” has invited the BJP, a minority political party in the state, to form the government.
The swearing-in ceremony pursuant to the impugned decision of the governor is slated for Tuesday, he said, underlining the need to hold an urgent hearing of his petition.
Constitutional convention enjoins the governor to call upon the single largest party in the first instance and prove its majority, the petition reads.
The governor’s decision was in the teeth of well-settled constitutional convention and propriety as also the constitution bench judgements of the top court.
The governor also breached the Sarkaria Commission recommendations, affirmed by the top court. The report outlined the constitutional convention to be followed in case of a fractured mandate.
In a situation where no single party obtains absolute majority, the Sarkaria Commission provides for the order of preference the governor should follow in selecting a chief minister.
As per the order the first preference should be given to an alliance of parties that was formed prior to elections. The largest single party should be given the second, while parties that enter the post-election coalition should get the third priority.