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|February 21, 1998|
Constitutional experts read the law to the UP governor
Syed Firdaus Ashraf
Constitutional experts have denounced Uttar Pradesh Governor Romesh Bhandari's decision to dismiss the Kalyan Singh government. They believe the governor should have given Chief Minister Kalyan Singh a chance to prove his majority in the assembly after the Loktantrik Congress withdrew support.
Former Union law minister Ram Jethmalani told Rediff On The NeT, "The UP governor has brought disgrace to the governor's office by taking this decision. This is not the first time he has acted in this manner. Earlier too, he took a decision against Kalyan Singh."
Four months ago when Mayawati withdrew support to the Kalyan Singh government, the governor dismissed Kalyan Singh, stating that there was a breakdown in the state machinery following violence in the assembly.
The President set a precedent by asking the I K Gujral government at the Centre to reconsider the decision to dismiss the UP government.
"The Supreme Court has already stated in S R Bommai versus Government of India that a test of a government's strength can only take place on the floor of the assembly, and nowhere else," says lawyer Indira Jaising.
In 1989, the Janata Dal government of then Karnataka chief minister S R Bommai was dismissed by then governor S Venkatasubbaiah. Bommai challenged the decision in the Supreme Court, which declared in 1994 that a governor can only ask a chief minister to prove his government's majority on the floor of the House.
Jaising felt Bhandari should have sent his report to the President rather than behaving "so irresponsibly."
Constitutional lawyer Shanti Bhushan felt the President could still dismiss Bhandari and appoint a new governor who could give Kalyan Singh a chance to prove his majority.
"The UP governor has acted in an unconstitutional manner and the President has a right to dismiss him," Bhushan said.
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