New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a floor test in Maharashtra, which, it said, should be conducted before 5 PM on November 27.

The three-judge bench, headed by Justice NV Ramana, and also comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna further directed that the proceedings be telecast live. The top court had reserved its order in the case on Monday, a day after it took up a joint plea by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine, called the ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’, filed against the government formation in Maharashtra.

The apex court further directed that a Pro-tem Speaker should be sworn-in to conduct the floor test, which, it said, should be done through the process of open ballot.

The petition was filed late Saturday after, in dramatic early morning developments that day, Devendra Fadnavis was sworn-in as the Chief Minister with NCP’s Ajit Pawar as his deputy and formally assumed charge as Chief Minister on Monday. In another interesting development yesterday, nine out of 3,000 irrigation cases against the deputy Chief Minister were closed, triggering major criticism.

The BJP and Shiv Sena won a combined 161 seats in the 288-Maharashtra Assembly. However, the Sena demanded the Chief Minister’s chair for a period of 2.5 years as per the ’50-50 formula,’ a demand that was rejected by the BJP. This prompted the Sena to enter negotiations with the NCP-Congress combine and the alliance had been sealed off before Saturday’s dramatic developments took place.