Constitution subverted in State: Guv

Political crisis:

deserted: The corridors of the Vidhana Soudha wore a deserted look as the ruling party and the Opposition were busy staging rallies on the streets of Bangalore. dh photoGovernor H R Bhardwaj on Tuesday defended his move of recommending President’s Rule in the State stating that there had been a breakdown of Constitutional mechanism by way of subverting the sanctity of the floor test held in the Legislative Assembly during October last year.

 In a press communique, the Governor held Speaker K G Bopaiah and Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa responsible for distorting the character and composition of the Assembly for “extraneous reasons” on October 10 last year by disqualifying 16 members of the Assembly ahead of the crucial floor test.

The three-page communique is the first official confirmation from Raj Bhavan that the Governor has recommended imposition of Article 356 (1) of the Constitution. The Governor has relied on the Supreme Court verdict of May 13 setting aside the disqualification order of the 16 legislators and the observations made by the apex court against Speaker and chief minister for arriving at his decision.

The communique states that the intervention under Article 356 (1) of the Constitution of India is not limited to a situation of government losing its majority in the Assembly. The intervention is called for whenever there is breakdown of Constitutional mechanism in the State.

The communique states that though the origins of the breakdown can be traced to the question of support enjoyed by the Government, the actual breakdown was due to tampering with the composition of the Legislative Assembly in unconstitutional manner. 

The Governor has also made a reference to the BJP taking to agitation against him stating that it was for Constitutional authorities to take a decision on his recommendation.

 “Whenever such a situation arises, it is the Constitutional responsibility of the Governor to submit the report on all such matters. Governor is of the view that this is a matter on which the appropriate Constitutional authorities have to take the decision on the recommendation of the Governor and it is not a matter that can be resolved on the streets”, the communique states.

The communique traces the sequence of events that led to the Speaker disqualifying 16 legislators. On October 6, 2010, 18 MLAs submitted individual letters to the Governor withdrawing their support to the Government. However, the Speaker and chief minister distorted the composition of the House for extraneous reasons.

“The actions of distorting the character of the Assembly was resorted to by the Chief Minister and the Speaker, as noted by the Supreme Court  in its judgment, to enable the floor test to succeed. The sanctity of the floor test has been deliberately subverted thereby resulting in the breakdown of the Constitutional mechanism, as the Legislative Assembly is a creation under Article 168 of the Constitution of India”, the communique states.

Though the Governor held the same view even on October 11, 2010, the issue of disqualification remained sub-judice till the Supreme Court of India delivered its judgment on May 13, 2011.

“Therefore, after examining the judgment of the Supreme Court and its implications and the various other developments in the recent months, the Governor submitted a special report to the President of India on 15 May 2011, recommending invoking the provisions of Article 356(1) of the Constitution of India”, the communique states.  

A birthday at Raj Bhavan

While the State BJP leaders led by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa were running from pillar to post in the national capital on Tuesday, Governor H R Bhardwaj spent a "quiet" day at Raj Bhavan, greeting scores of visitors who had come to wish him on his birthday. The Governor celebrated his 74th birthday on Tuesday.

Bhardwaj who had remained tight-lipped ever since his return to Bangalore on Sunday afternoon, however, released a communiqué to the media, clarifying his reasoning for recommending the President's Rule in the State. But for this official chore, his activities otherwise remained "non-political". The Governor who is said to have been in a "happy mood" was called upon by politicians including JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda, Congress leader C K Jaffer Sharief and KPCC president G Parameshwara.

Archbishop Bernard Moras, Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor N Prabhu Dev, scholar Mathoor Krishnamurthy and academicians from various universities were the other visitors at Raj Bhavan.

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