Guv's action stirs hornet's nest

Notices to ministers leads to debate over his authority

Guv's action stirs hornet's nest

birthday wishes: Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa greeting Governor H R Bhardwaj on his 73rd  birthday, at Raj Bhavan in Bangalore on Monday. Ministers R Ashok, Murugesh Nirani and Suresh Kumar are also seen.

While the ruling BJP leaders, and in particular Minister Janardhana Reddy have questioned the very authority of the Governor to issue notices, the latter has already said that he is well within his rights to do so.

The Congress, of course, has lambasted BJP for questioning the Governor’s authority. On Monday, it was the turn of the Union Minister Mallikarjun Kharge to hit back at Janardhana Reddy. Kharge said none should cross the limit while commenting on the functioning of Raj Bhavan.

Congress MLC Kondaiah has petitioned the Governor seeking disqualification of the three ministers - Janardhana Reddy, Karunakara Reddy and B Sriramulu - on the ground that they are into mining business and they should not continue in the Cabinet as it would influence the government’s decision making. Consequently, the Governor issued notices to all the three. The Governor sharply reacted to Reddy’s comments saying that he will be left with no choice but to forward Kondaiah’s petition to the Election Commission.

A top bureaucrat who had earlier worked with Raj Bhavan said neither the Governor nor the Election Commission has the authority to disqualify an elected representative. “The Governor, probably, wanted to listen to the version of the ministers before deciding the fate of Kondaiah’s petition. He could have referred it to the Election Commission without hearing the Reddys”, the officer said.

He also said that even the EC can’t disqualify an elected member. The EC can disqualify a candidate only before election. But post-elections, the complaint received by the Commission will have to be referred to the court.

A retired high court judge, who did not like to be named said that the Constitution is silent over such issues. But the Governor has not over stepped his limits. However, the development has caused public embarrassment to the ministers, he said.

JD (S) MLC M C Nanaiah said the governor has issued notices following a petition. “It is not a suo moto action by the Governor. Also, the notices need not be routed through the Chief Minister because the ministers’ private business (mining) is being discussed and not official business. The governor is entitled to take up the matter directly with the ministers”, he said.

Naidu should mind his tongue: Deshpande

Mangalore, DHNS: KPCC president R V Deshpande has strongly condemned BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu for criticising Governor H R Bhardwaj, who served a notice to minister Janardhana Reddy.

“Naidu should mind his tongue,” Deshpande said, while chatting with a section of the media in Mangalore on Monday.

“It is not right to speak lightly about the Governor. The Constitution itself has given him the power of serving notice and everyone should respect it,” he justified.

Deshpande expressed his confidence that the voters would teach a fitting lesson to the BJP government in the Gram Panchayat elections for its anti-people policies.

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