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Bihar governor acted properly: Centre to SC
September 22, 2005 21:34 IST
The Centre on Thursday strongly defended before the Supreme Court the decision of Governor Buta Singh recommending dissolution of Bihar Assembly saying that he acted with "propriety" and "fairness" to preserve the purity of the political process.
"If he (governor) had taken the stand of asking the parties to form a government he would have legitimised corruption," Solicitor General G E Vahanvati asserted before a constitution bench examining the malafides alleged against the Governor in giving the reports to the Centre leading to the dissolution of Bihar Assembly.
Refuting the allegations of the Janata Dal (United)-Bharatiya Janata Party legislators of the dissolved assembly that the governor's action and the report favouring dissolution of house was malafide, he said the view of the governor was legitimate and bonafide as he was committed to arrest "the trend of blatant political machinations that were going in the state with use of corruption, bribery and allurements".
"The Governor reiterated his view that instead of installing a Government based on majority achieved by a distortion of system, it would be preferable that the people could be provided with one more opportunity at an appropriate time," Vahanvati told a five-judge bench comprising Justice Y K Sabharwal, Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justice B N Agarwal, Justice Ashok Bhan and Justice Arijit Passayat.
Contending that the approach of the governor was not to prevent any particular person or party from staking a claim, solicitor general said "his (governor's) anxiety was not to permit the distortion of the political system, distortion which has been the canker of the Indian democracy".
Vahanvati asserted that recommending the dissolution of the Assembly rather than installing a government brought about by illegal and irregular methods was a preferred course of action and could not be described as malafide.
The Centre said that Governor, in his April 27 report, had made it clear about unconstitutional means attempted by political parties to cobble up a majority for government formation in the state.
The situation by May 21 when the governor sent his second report to the Centre had deteriorated further, the solicitor general said adding that the Union cabinet on May 22 shared the perception that the trend had to be arrested immediately.
"This is the reason why the cabinet met immediately and took the decision to render the requisite advise to the President. Viewed from this perspective it can never be said to have been done in an improper manner," he said.
Vahanvati, who was showered with questions by the bench over the material on which the governor had taken a decision to recommend the dissolution of the house, said "when a decision is taken by a person holding a constitutional post it is assumed that there exists some materials".
When the bench asked was it the case that the President also had thought that there was no doubt about the existence of material, he said "Ultimately it is a decision of the cabinet, the President cannot doubt".
Brushing aside the allegation of "undue haste" on the part of Governor, he said the report was sent to arrest the "trend of horse-trading".
Maintaing that people's will must prevail, he said "given a choice between going back to the electorate and accepting a majority obtained improperly, it is submitted that only the first is the real alternative".
Attorney General Milon K Banerji, who has been asked by the court to assist in the matter, supported the Governor's action saying that the evidence of political neutrality on his part was evident as he did not invite Rabri Devi to stake claim for Government formation in the state.
"Only the person who could have been asked to form the government when nobody had come forward was Rabri Devi, but the governor did not do anything like that," he said.
The attorney general said it was nobody's case that there was no material before the President to form the satisfaction that that there was a breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the State and the Government could not be carried in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.