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K'taka: Will Guv invite largest party or largest combine; experts differ

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

is likely to be guided by verdicts which say that a party with the largest number of MLAs should be invited to form the government in the event of a fractured election result, jurists said today.

However, a differing opinion is emerging amongst some as to how to determine the party with the maximum MLAs -- whether it is the single largest party or a combination of parties.

Former Mukul Rohatgi, senior advocates Rakesh Dwivedi, and Rajeev Dhavan, retired P B Sawant and constitutional expert were of the view that it was a "premature" stage to think what the will do, but he has a choice either inviting the single largest party or the combination which has more number of MLAs.

While Rohatgi said it was a settled law that the must call the single largest party, or the here, to form government, Sawant was of the view that there was nothing in the constitutional scheme that would come in the way of the Congress-JD(S) combine forming the government.

Differing with them, Dwivedi and Goel said it was a "premature" stage for the Governor to take a call and, for all observers, it is a "wait and watch" game until the announces the final outcome.

Dhavan said the correct way is to call the single largest party first and, if it fails to prove its numbers, then the Governor may go for the coalition option.

Referring to and polls, Dhavan said a mistake was committed in these two states as the single largest party, the Congress, was not invited to form the government.

His view was shared by Goel who said that as per the constitutional convention, the single largest party should be invited for government formation but there have been a few aberrations in the past like in and

He said the Governor should invite the single largest party to explore whether they want to form the government or not, and if they refuse, he would be entitled to request to explore opportunity.

Elaborating further, Dwivedi said after the final outcome, the arithmetic will be clear for the Governor to "apply his conscience" and either invite the single largest party or the combination, whichever will be in a position to provide a stable government in the state.

Emphasising on the stability factor, spokesperson drew the attention of S R Bommai (1994) and Rameshwar Prasad judgements of the apex court, which clearly stated that the Governor was obliged to invite the party which can provide stable and sustainable government.

He said in the present scenario, only the was in a position to provide a stable and

sustainable governance and since BJP was emerging as a single largest party with a few short of majority, it is a clear indication that voters in have opted for BJP.

Goel, however, said the Bommai judgement had little relevance in the present scenario as it dealt with the imposition of President's Rule in without giving the then ruling party the opportunity to go for the floor test.

He said the Rameshwar Prasad judgement of 2005 has some relevance in the present context as the then Governor in did not invite the single largest pre-poll alliance partner to form government and recommended imposition of President's Rule on the ground that there was a possibility of horse-trading to form the government.

Sawant said from the legal point of view, "it seems that JD (S) and will be called by the Governor to form the government as their number is more than BJP alone. But they have to prove the number on the floor. The number game clearly shows there are not many parties. To run the government, in my opinion, JD (S) and will be called."

On the contrary, Rohatgi said, "Here (in Karnataka) it is the BJP which is leading by a huge margin. The Governor is bound to invite the BJP. For formation of government, the Governor has to give a reasonable time to the party, probably a week, and then majority has to be proved on the floor of the House."

All legal experts were, however, unanimous that the Karnataka verdict has thrown open a test for the Governor to apply his conscience and discretion in taking a decision.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 15 2018. 20:05 IST