Constitutional machinery breakdown in Karnataka: Governor
Under attack from the BJP for recommending dismissal of the B S Yeddyurappa Government, Karnataka Governor H R 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. 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 K G Bopaiah on October 10 last ahead of the trust vote faced by Chief Minister B S 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 12th October.
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