NEW DELHI: Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambara, a senior advocate himself, on Monday said his acquaintance with the law obliges him be frank and restrained to state that the governors appointed by the BJP since 2014 have repeatedly violated the letter and spirit of the Constitution, gravely impairing the parliamentary democracy, its conventions and traditions.
In a video-conferencing press conference, he said: “At least three landmark judgements of the Courts when the Governors concerned acted in gross violation of the Constitution in Arunachal Pradesh (2016), Uttarakhand (2016) and Karnataka (2019) and despite these judgements, the Rajasthan Governor has stalled and continues to stall a perfect valid request of the council of ministers to convene a session of the legislative Assembly.
” It is settled law that the Governor shall act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. He has no discretion — let me repeat, no discretion at all — in the matter. The questions that the Governor had raised to stall the request were irrelevant and beyond his authority. His current stand that the law gives him a ‘discretion’ to summon the Assembly or not is a complete distortion of the law declared by the Courts,” Chidambaram stressed.
He said the Congress is astonished and anguished by the attitude of the governor, a reason why the party workers are protesting on Monday before all Raj Bhawans in the country “to highlight the gravity of the issue and draw the people’s attention to the violations of the Constitution.”
Explaining the law and the parliamentary practice, Chidambaram said if the executive government wants the Assembly to meet, it has the absolute right and authority to call a session. The governor is only a formal instrument to sign and issue the summons to the MLAs.
“If a chief minister, who is accused of not enjoying a majority, wants to prove his majority, he is entitled to call a session at the earliest to prove his majority. No one can stand in his way. Placing any obstacle to calling the session would undermine the fundamental basis of a parliamentary democracy,” he said, expressing surprise at the governor insisting that the session may be called only by giving a 21-day notice.
Chidambaram said the governor is privy to an extraordinary situation prevailing in Rajasthan for over a fortnight and he has been duly briefed by both the Chief Minister and the main opposition BJP and so he can’t insist on the 21-day notice applicable in normal times.