Jurists Fali Nariman, Katju Clash Over BJP Forming Govt in Goa

The two jurists have differing views on Supreme Court allowing Parrikar the chance to win the Goa trust vote.

Goa Election
2 min read
Hindi Female

Eminent jurist Fali S Nariman on Wednesday disagreed with the Supreme Court giving Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar the chance to prove his majority on the floor of the house on Thursday.

Nariman told The Indian Express that the Governor should have called the leader of the single largest party to form the government.

The Governor is under a constitutional duty to first invite the leader of the single largest party in the state, whether or not he or she is the first to stake claim.
Fali Nariman to The Indian Express

The Saturday Assembly polls had thrown up a hung verdict in Goa, with the BJP bagging 13 seats as against 17 won by the Congress. However, the BJP staked claim to form the government in the state after getting support from eight other legislators. Manohar Parrikar was then sworn in as the new Chief Minister on Wednesday and was asked to prove his majority in a floor test on Thursday.

Chandrakant Kavlekar, Leader of the Congress Legislature Party, retaliated by saying that the Governor did not call him to form the government despite his party being the single largest in the state.


Countering Nariman’s views, however, was former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju. Katju took to Facebook to call Nariman’s views “demonstrably incorrect.”

Suppose a House consists of 100 members, and there are 20 parties having one or two members who have been elected, and supposing the largest party has only 10 members. Then according to Mr Nariman, the leader of the party having only 10 members must be invited to form the government, even if the other 90 members openly express their opposition to such a government. Surely this would be absurd.
Markandey Katju

Nariman’s Disagreement Has Roots in Previous Judgments

Nariman’s disagreement with the Supreme Court has roots in several other judgments by the apex court.

In case of a hung assembly, the MM Punchhi Commission in its judgment said that “the party or combination of parties which command the widest support in the Legislative Assembly should be called upon to form the government.”

The Justice Sarkaria Commission in its order about the Governor’s role in case of a hung assembly said that while selecting the chief minister, an order of preference should be followed – first, the leader of a pre-poll alliance and then the leader of the single largest party that stakes claim with the support of others.

In the Nabam Rebia and Bamang Felix Vs Deputy Speaker, Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly & Others case, a five-judge bench upheld the MM Punchhi and Sarkaria Commission’s views.

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