Constitutional machinery breakdown in Karnataka: Guv

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.

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

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.