Constitutional machinery breakdown in Karnataka: Guv
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Last Updated: Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 21:21
Bangalore: Under attack from the BJP for recommending dismissal of the BS Yeddyurappa Government, Karnataka Governor HR Bhardwaj on Tuesday defended his action on the ground of "breakdown" of constitutional machinery.

As the BJP paraded its MLAs before President Pratibha Patil and demanded his recall, Bhardwaj rejected as "baseless" the allegations that he recommended President's rule as the government had lost majority.

"First of all an impression is being created that despite the Government enjoying the support of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly, Governor submitted the report for invoking the provisions of Article 356 (1) of the Constitution on the grounds that the Government lost the majority. This is completely baseless," a Raj Bhavan communique issued here said.

Bhardwaj said Constitutional mechanism had broken down due to tampering with the composition of the Legislative Assembly in an "unconstitutional manner", an obvious reference to the disqualification of 16 MLAs by Speaker KG Bopaiah on October 10 last ahead of the trust vote faced by Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa which has now been quashed by Supreme Court.

Bhardwaj in a letter to the Speaker ahead of the legislature session had advised him to maintain status quo on composition and character of the Assembly.

Bopaiah had taken exception to this saying it was an interference by the Governor in discharge of his duties and went ahead with his order disqualifying 16 MLAs.

"The intervention of the Article 356 (1) of the Constitution is called for whenever there is breakdown of constitutional mechanism in the state," Bhardwaj said defending his May 15 special report to the Centre recommending dismissal of the BJP Government.

The breakdown of constitutional mechanism also can occur in several other ways, he noted. "However in this case, though the origins of the breakdown can be traced to the question of support enjoyed by the Government, the actual breakdown is due to tampering with the composition of the Assembly in an unconstitutional manner."

Bhardwaj referred to the letters submitted to him by 18 MLAs, including five Independents withdrawing support to the Yeddyurappa Government on October 6 and his directive to the Chief Minister to prove his majority by October 12.

Yeddyurappa faced the first floor test on October 11 which was carried by a voice vote amidst scenes of pell-mell, which the Governor rejected.

"The Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in collusion with the Chief Minister has distorted the character and composition of the Assembly for extraneous reasons on 10th October 2010, by disqualifying 16 members of the Assembly just hours before the crucial floor test scheduled for 11-10-2010," he said.

Stating that misgivings had been created in the minds of the public about the nature and the rationale of his special report, the communique said the Governor was clarifying the matter to take the people into confidence.

Bhardwaj has also referred to observations made by the Supreme Court while setting aside the disqualification of 16 MLAs on May 13.

The court, he said, had held: "Unless it was to ensure that the trust vote did not go against the chief minister, there was no conceivable reason for the Speaker to have taken up the disqualification application in such a great hurry."

Though the Governor held the same view even on October 11, 2010, the issue of disqualification remained sub-judice till the Supreme Court delivered its judgement, the communique said.

It said the Governor recommended President's Rule after examining the apex court judgement and its implications and the various other developments in the recent months.

Hitting out at BJP, which is demanding his recall, for taking to the streets, Bhardwaj said whenever such a situation arises, it was the Constitutional responsibility of the Governor to submit a report on all such matters.

"The 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," he said.


First Published: Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 21:21

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