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Congress goes to Supreme Court over Goa Governor’s invite to BJP alliance (Relevant for GS Prelims and GS Mains Paper II)

The congress moved the Supreme Court challenging the decision of Governor to invite the BJP, which won 13 of the 40 seats in the assembly elections, to form the next state government.

What is the petition ?
The Congress emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats.The petition filed by Congress accuses the Governor of ignoring the fact that “there was no pre-poll alliance of any party prior to the elections”.

It also claims that the Governor’s refusal to invite the single largest party the Congress to have a first shot at government formation is a “complete departure from the Sarkaria Commission as well as M M Punchhi Commission recommendations.

Supporting judgements
While the S R Bommai case judgment by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court ruled that a floor test was the only way to establish majority in the House, it has been the convention to invite the leader of the single largest party or head of the pre-poll alliance with the requisite numbers to form the government and prove strength in the House.

The petition quotes the report of the Justice Sarkaria Commission, which, while dealing with the issue of use of discretion by the Governor in case of a hung house, recommended an order of preference to follow in selecting a chief minister: leader of pre-poll alliance, then leader of the “largest single party staking claim to form the government with the support of others…”

The petition also points out that the Justice M M Punchhi Commission Report on Centre-State relations also affirmed this convention.

Discretionary powers of the Governor
The others view that matter fall within the discretionary power of the Governor. For instance, usually the leader of the party with majority is appointed as the Chief Minister. But in situation where no party gets absolute majority, the Governor exercises his discretionary powers in appointing the Chief Minister.



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