When SC rebuked Bihar Guv for dissolving State Assembly

Much like Malik, Buta had informed the Centre that he apprehended “horse trading” and there was “little possibility of a stable Government”. This happened when the State Assembly results on February 27, 2005, threw a fractured mandate, resulting in the imposition of President’s rule on March 7.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik’s decision to dissolve the Assembly appears more like a replica of a 13-year-old episode that took place in Bihar when the then Governor Buta Singh took a similar decision and dissolved the State Assembly.

Buta was, however, reprimanded by the Supreme Court. The stricture passed by the apex court later forced him to quit as Bihar Governor.

Much like Malik, Buta too had informed the Centre that he apprehended “horse trading” and there was “little possibility of a stable Government”. This happened when the State Assembly results on February 27, 2005, threw a fractured mandate, resulting in the imposition of President’s rule on March 7.

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Since the Assembly was put under suspended animation, the NDA, comprising JD(U) and the BJP, later claimed that it could form the government. It’s leader Nitish Kumar conveyed to the Governor that he enjoyed the support of 115 MLAs in the 243-member House.

As per the results, the RJD was the single largest party with 75 seats but the NDA had won 92 seats (JD-U: 55 and BJP: 37). With no party able to submit the list of the half-way magic figure of 122, the Governor informed the Centre that efforts were made to wean away 29 LJP MLAs.

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Apprehending large-scale horse-trading, Buta recommended on May 21 that since the formation of a stable government was not possible, the House be dissolved and fresh elections held. The Cabinet met at midnight of May 22 and accepted the Governor’s report, which was later faxed to then President Abdul Kalam in Moscow. He approved the recommendation in two hours and the Assembly was dissolved.

Later, when this decision was challenged in the apex court, the then Chief Justice YK Sabharwal on October 7 reprimanded Buta for his actions saying his decision “reeked of malafide intent.”

“All canons of propriety were thrown to the wind….undue haste made by the Governor smacks of malafide intent,” said the Chief Justice. He also pulled up the then UPA government for “accepting the Governor’s report as Gospel truth”.

Passing strictures against Buta, the SC said, “…clearly the Governor has misled the council of ministers.”

Later, elections for Bihar Assembly were held in October-November 2005 and Nitish Kumar was sworn in as Chief Minister.

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When SC rebuked Bihar Guv for dissolving State Assembly

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