The Supreme Court today refused an early hearing to a petition by the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) that challenged the upcoming oath taking ceremony of JD(S) supremo H.D. Kumaraswamy as the Chief Minister of Karnataka. After entering into an unholy alliance with the Congress, H.D. Kumaraswamy is scheduled to take oath of office on May 23.
Bringing the matter to court, the Hindu Mahasabha in its petition represented by Barun Kumar Sinha sought to quash governor’s invitation to Kumaraswamy for forming the government. The Mahasabha in its petition went on to call the alliance between the JD(S) and the Congress “unconstitutional”. It also pleaded before the court for an early hearing given that the swearing in ceremony is scheduled to take place on May 23. Since it is an urgent matter, and hearing of the petition after a given point of time might render it infructuous, the petitioner pleaded for an early hearing of the matter.
The petition might appear to be unreasonable or even frivolous. However, it does not make much sense to not give it enough attention when the remedy claimed is merely illusionary. Prima facie, the petition might appear to be absurd because it is questioning the special rights vested in the governor under the constitution of India without any strong reason. However, the petition at least deserves to be heard and if need be dismissed in the first hearing itself. However, to keep the petition alive and hear it at a stage when the remedy claimed under the petition cannot be granted due to the very subject matter of the petition, would amount to a miscarriage of justice.
This is also not in line with the recent judicial precedents. In fact, only some time ago after Yeddyurappa was invited to form the government, Congress had also knocked the doors of the Supreme Court in a similar manner in the late hours of the night claiming similar relief. In fact, they had knocked the doors of the court at midnight. The court, having regard to the urgency of the matter and nature of relief claimed, decided to hear the petition. Even though the Court decided not to stay the oath taking ceremony, certain instructions were nonetheless passed to the then Chief Minister Yeddyurappa, and even the floor test that was due to take place in the assembly was advanced to an earlier date. It appears that in these two matters, the relief claimed is identical and even the circumstances are identical, what is different is merely the parties to the case. Therefore, the court should have given similar treatment to this petition as well. The remedy claimed by the Congress against Yeddyurappa had not been granted by the Supreme Court and no one has an issue even if the Hindu Mahasabha is not granted the remedy it has sought. However, it should have been taken care that similar treatment was given in both the cases. If a party claiming a certain relief can be granted a midnight hearing, another party claiming identical relief must be granted at least an early hearing.
It has slowly been accepted as a set norm that urgent matters should be given utmost priority in order to minimise any possibility of miscarriage of justice. This is why the doors of the Supreme Court were opened for even a terrorist like Yakub Memon so that he was given every possible opportunity to defend himself. However, it seems Hindu Mahasabha has not been fortunate enough to be given that sort of similar treatment.