New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ordered a video graphed floor test in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly on Friday and voting by 5 PM to prevent horse trading and end the political uncertainty in the state.
It thereby rejected the plea for two weeks' time sought for the exercise by Speaker N P Prajapati through senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
The Bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta had a lengthy hearing up to 5.15 PM for the second day on the petition of former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and 9 BJP MLAs for an immediate floor test.
The court wants voting by show of hands and ordered telecast of the floor test while asserting that the proceedings should be peaceful and orderly; it also ordered full security for the rebel Congress MLAs holed up in Bengaluru, if they want to participate in the exercise.
The BJP may not want to bring them to the House since Chief Minister Kamal Nath may issue a whip to force them to vote with his government and get them disqualified by the Speaker under the anti-defection law, if they vote against.
The Speaker is a Congress MLA.
The Bench rejected the contention of Singhvi and senior counsel Kapil Singhvi appearing for the chief minister that the Governor had no authority to order the floor test, since it were a prerogative of the Speaker.
In the course of hearing, the Bench indicated that it wants to separate the issue of the pending resignations of the 16 rebel Congress MLAs while allowing the floor test. The court said the floor test can be held even if the Speaker does not decide on the resignations of the rebel MLAs.
The political drama is unfolding in Madhya Pradesh since March 10, when Jyotiraditya Scindia, the scion of Gwalior's royal family, left the Congress and joined the BJP with his 22 MLA supporters to bring the 15-month old Kamal Nath government in crisis.
The Speaker accepted the resignations of six MLAs immediately after Nath removed them from his ministry without meeting them, but he wanted 16 others to convince him in person that they had not been coerced into resigning from the House.