As charges and counter-charges flew thick and fast over the Karnataka Governor’s fraught invite to BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa to take oath as chief minister, the developments riled senior advocate Ram Jethmalani enough to come out of his self-imposed retirement from legal profession and approach the Supreme Court seeking permission to join the legal battle over Karnataka political imbroglio.
Jethmalani, now 94 and still going strong, approached Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra to allow him to intervene in his “personal capacity” to challenge Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision to invite Yeddyurappa to form government in Karnataka despite the BJP being short of majority and the Congress-JD(S) post-poll alliance having the numbers.
Jethmalani, whose bitter parting with the BJP is well-known, submitted before the CJI that Governor Vala’s action was a “gross abuse of Constitutional power” and that he had “disgraced the office of the governor”.
News agency ANI reported: “Sr lawyer Ram Jethmalani mentioned before CJI Bench of Dipak Misra, justices AM Khanwilkar&DY Chandrachud his application for urgent hearing against Karnataka Guv for inviting BS Yedurappa for making govt. The Bench directed him to mention it tomorrow before an appropriate bench.”
The bench of Justices AK Sikri, SA Bobde and Ashok Bhushan, will on Friday (May 18) resume hearing the petition filed by the Congress challenging Governor Vala’s decision. In a late night hearing that started at 1.45 am on Thursday and went on till the break of dawn, the bench had refused to stay Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in as chief minister (Yeddyurappa took oath of office at 9 am – just four hours after the SC order) but had said it would hear the matter again at 10.30 am on Friday and asked Yeddyurappa to give a list of MLAs backing him.
Speaking to reporters, Ram Jethmalani, said that he saw gross illegality in the BJP’s claim to form a government in Karnataka as well as in the manner in which the Governor refused to invite the Congress-JD (S) combine but granted the chance to Yeddyurappa. He called Governor Vala’s action “stupid”.
“What has the BJP said to the Governor that he did such a stupid action (sic)? The order of the Governor is an open invitation to for corruption,” Jethmalani said.