Chidambaram backs Karnataka Guv

Karnataka Governor HR Bhardwaj sanctioned Chief Minister Yeddyurappa’s prosecution.

Last Updated: Jan 22, 2011, 13:55 PM IST

New Delhi: Home Minister P Chidambaram Saturday criticised the BJP for its attack on Karnataka Governor HR Bhardwaj granting sanction to prosecute the Chief Minister and said the Governor`s decision was in accordance with the law.

In a signed statement, he asked the Karnataka
Government and BJP to maintain law and order, saying the
party`s move to take to the streets against the governor`s
decision is not acceptable.

"It is not the first time that a Governor has given his
sanction to prosecute a chief minister or a minister of the
state government. The law in this respect is clear and
well-settled," he said.

The Home Minister said he was "disappointed" that the
BJP has raised the decibel level and has taken to the streets
which was "not correct" and was "totally unacceptable".

"The Government of Karnataka is obliged to maintain
law and order in the state, not to standby when law and order
is disrupted by party cadres or there are acts of violence,"
he said.

Bhardwaj had yesterday sanctioned prosecution of Chief
Minister BS Yeddyurappa in alleged land scams.

The BJP had hit back at the Governor calling the
decision constitutionally improper and politically motivated.

Taking a dig at BJP, Chidambaram said he was glad to
note that the party no longer says that "the alleged
transgressions of law in Karnataka are only immoral and not
illegal".

"Surely, the BJP knows the legal position. The BJP
also knows that any person aggrieved by the order of the
Governor can seek legal remedies. Hence, it is my sincere hope
that the BJP will advise its state unit to abide by the law
and will advise the Government of Karnataka to discharge its
constitutional obligation to maintain law and order," he said.

The Home Minister said the Centre has taken note of
the developments in Karnataka and he was not going into the
merits of the complaints that were before the Governor of
Karnataka in respect of which he has granted sanction for
prosecution.

"The purpose of this statement is to set out the
constitutional and legal position," he said.

Chidambaram said the leading case in this behalf is
MP Special Police Establishment Vs State of Madhya Pradesh.
That was a case in which the then Governor of Madhya Pradesh
Bhai Mahavir overruled the advice of the Cabinet and granted
sanction to prosecute two ministers. A five-judge bench of the
Supreme Court upheld the order of the Governor.

The Home Minister said he would draw the BJP`s
attention to the statement made by Justice (retd) Santosh
Hegde, Lokayukta of Karnataka, who has observed that the
Governor had the jurisdiction to grant sanction for
prosecution.

The Home Minister said he has requested Union Home
Secretary Gopal K Pillai to speak to the Karnataka Chief
Secretary and the Director General of Police in this regard.

PTI