Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has to prove his majority in the Assembly on Wednesday, said the Supreme Court as it ruled on a petition filed against the governor’s surprise decision to swear in the BJP leader.
The floor test will be through open ballot and it will be recorded on video, the court said in a decision welcomed by the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party, and the Congress.
The court ordered Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to ensure that all newly elected MLAs are sworn in by 5 pm on Wednesday. A pro-tem or temporary Speaker will administer the oath, said a bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna.
"In a situation wherein, if the floor test is delayed, there is a possibility of horse-trading, it becomes incumbent upon the Court to act to protect democratic values. An immediate floor test, in such a case, might be the most effective mechanism to do so," said the court, prompting the three-party alliance to declare victory against the BJP.
According to convention the senior-most MLA is made pro-tem speaker. Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat is the senior most member in the new house, as per TV reports.
"Truth has won. The BJP’s game is over,” said NCP leader Nawab Malik on Twitter.
Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde said Fadnavis should resign "The swearing-in of Devendra Fadnavis was carried out keeping everybody in the dark. He should step down from his post. We have the majority of at least 162 MLAs. At the time of the floor test, we will have the support of 170," Shinde told reporters in Mumbai.
BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli rejected Opposition parties' statements. "No judicial pronouncement on issues of the Constitution can be a setback to any political party. Judicial orders only strengthen the Constitution," he said.