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'Yeddyurappa's swearing-in is a farce'

Last updated on: May 17, 2018 16:34 IST

'This minority government will be for only 15 days.'
'By that time, its motion of confidence will be defeated, and it will have to resign.'
'Therefore, the swearing-in is a waste of money, energy and time.'

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala, right, administers the oath of office to Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa as chief minister, May 17, 2018. Photograph: Shailendra Bhojak/PTI Photo

IMAGE: Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala, right, administers the oath of office to Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa as chief minister, May 17, 2018. Photograph: Shailendra Bhojak/PTI Photo

One of the nine judges who delivered the historic S R Bommai judgment in 1994 is retired Supreme Court Justice P B Sawant

After his tenure in the apex court, Justice Sawant was the chairman of the Press Council of India for two consecutive terms, from 1995 to 2001. He also headed the one-man commission that inquired into corruption charges against four Maharashtra ministers as well as against 'Anna' Hazare's institutions in 2003. For this work he took no remuneration.

In 2008, he won a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against the Times Now when Arnab Goswami was that television channel's editor-in-chief. He has been active in heading citizens tribunals into violation of the Constitutional rights of ordinary people.

The 88-year-old judge spoke to Jyoti Punwani about Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala's decision to invite B S Yeddyurappa of the Bharatiya Janata Party to form the government, and the Supreme Court's decision on the petition filed by the Congress against Vala's verdict.

 

What is your opinion on the Supreme Court's refusal to stay B S Yeddyurappa's swearing in?

The Supreme Court should have abided by the decision in the S R Bommai judgment -- the party or the group that has the majority in the House should be called to form the government.

Now, knowing that a front has the majority, and the party called has a minority, to allow a minority to form the government is to open the door for horse-trading, so that the minority becomes the majority.

Secondly, this minority government will be for only 15 days. By that time, its motion of confidence will be defeated, and it will have to resign.

Therefore, the swearing-in is a waste of money, energy and time.

If you know this government is going to be defeated, what's the fun of swearing it in? It is a farce.

So, the Supreme Court should have directed the governor to invite the front to form the government.

Is there any way to hold governors accountable for such decisions, to demand explanations, to make the reasons for their choices transparent?

The governor is the head of the state, who is supposed to administer the state impartially and independently.

Unfortunately, for the last some years, the governor has forgotten this solemn duty, and become either an agent or an employee of the central government.

How can we hold them accountable? People can demand their resignation, or ask for their impeachment, or that they be recalled. There is no way out really.

When such decisions are taken by governors, do you think voters lose faith in the election system? They vote one way, someone else comes to power.

What can we do? Our democracy is a multi-party one. Any number of parties and individuals can contest.

Those who win seats form the government and rule. It does not depend on the total number of votes polled.

This present government at the Centre got only 31% of the total votes. That means 69% is against it. Yet, it is ruling us.

We need to change the electoral system, and to see that those who have money don't pour it into elections.

For this we need to change the economic system.

We cannot laugh at this need or shrug it away. Otherwise, it means we are interested only in talking or writing about what is wrong, but not doing anything about it.

It is time to introspect and go to the root cause.

Change the economic system -- can you elaborate?

The present capitalist system concentrates wealth in a few hands. It is these (people) who are playing a role in the formation of governments.

This is not democracy, this is corporatocracy, the rule of corporates. This is so not only in this country, but all over the world.

The fault lies in this system. What we are debating and trying to fight now are the consequences of this system, without going to the root.

But the capitalist system can only be changed through a revolution.

Yes, but there can be a peaceful revolution too. Revolution doesn't always mean bloody revolution.

Who will give up their economic power without a fight?

We can try through civil mass movements. By educating the people.

Freedom from the British was also seen as impossible at one time. But we got it through mass civil movements, not bloody movements.

To bring a humanist and equitable economic system is the need of the hour.

Jyoti Punwani