Memorandum submitted by Karnataka Chief Minister Shri B.S. Yeddyurappa to the President of India
We are constrained to approach Your Excellency to apprise you of the unconstitutional conduct of Shri H.R.Bhardwaj, H.E. the Governor of Karnataka and urging Your Excellency to revoke the Presidential pleasure and to recall his services as Governor of Karnataka.
2. As per true democratic tradition, we attach utmost respect to the office of the Governor who is a constitutional authority. The BJP Government in Karnataka has always extended respect and cooperation to the office of the Governor. Despite this, Shri H.R.Bhardwaj has been taking a confrontational stand against the Government on repeated occasions.
3. Since the day of being sworn in as Governor of Karnataka on 05.06.2009, His Excellency Governor Shri H.R.Bhardwaj has converted the Raj Bhavan into a political weapon for harassing the State Government. He has been acting in a partisan manner. He has made several public statements criticizing the functioning of the Government, Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues. The Governor has stated publicly that he is first and foremost a Congressman. This itself shows that he has entered the office as an active politician and not as a neutral Constitutional Authority.
4. His Excellency the Governor has also made irresponsible public statements relating to variety of issues including illegal mining, attack on churches and appointment of Justice B. Padmaraj Commission for investigating land scam cases, etc. In each of these statements, he has made adverse remarks against a duly elected Government without even ascertaining the facts. Apart from these public statements, which amount to direct interference in the administration, His Excellency the Governor is also holding on to several Bills which have been passed by both Houses of Karnataka State Legislature. The Anti Cow Slaughter Bill which was passed by both Houses of Legislature has not been approved by the Governor and instead he has on a flimsy ground forwarded the same for Presidential assent. The said Legislation has been passed in exercise of powers in the State List and there was no justification for forwarding the Bill for Presidential assent. Similarly, in another case of Akrama Sakrama Amendment Bill, H.E. Governor refused to give his assent despite the Bill being passed by both Houses of Legislature.
5. The Governor being a Constitutional Head of State, is governed by the advice of the Council of Ministers. However, the Governor of Karnataka appears to think otherwise. He has refused to act in accordance with the decision of Council of Ministers on several occasions. Recently, a decision was taken to call for Legislative Session w.e.f. 16.05.2011. Despite this, H.E. the Governor has failed to give consent for calling the Session. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of B.P.Singal Vs. Union of India (2010) 6 SCC 331 has observed as under:
“The Constitutional role of Governor is to function as a vital link between Union Government and State Government. He is required to discharge the functions related to different roles harmoniously, assessing the scope and ambit of each role properly. He is not an employee of Union Government, nor the agent of party in power, nor required to act according to dictates of political parties”.
6. Whereas, the Governor of Karnataka is virtually acting as an opposition leader and making all attempts to dilute the democratically elected Government, in the interest of opposition parties.
7. It is further stated as under:
“The Governor’s constitutional role is clearly defined and bears very limited political overtones. Like the President, Governors are expected to be apolitically discharging purely constitutional functions, irrespective of their earlier political background. Governor cannot be politically active”.
8. In this background, it is clear that the conduct of Governor of Karnataka amounts to indulging in active politics, misusing the Raj Bhavan and encouraging the political opposition in Karnataka to destabilize the democratically elected Government. This is highly objectionable behaviour in the democratic framework.
9. In October 2010, the Governor Shri H.R.Bhardwaj, had crossed all limits by using his constitutional office towards political objectives. Some of the rebel MLAs of the Bharatiya Janata Party had represented to the Governor expressing lack of faith in the leadership of the Chief Minister. The Governor should have advised them to take up the matter with the Bharatiya Janata Party. Instead, he insisted that the Chief Minister should face a vote of confidence. His action was completely motivated with the single point objective of dismissal of the duly elected BJP Government.
10. The Vote of Confidence was held on 11.10.2010 and was carried in favour of the Chief Minister by a voice vote. Despite this, Shri H.R.Bhardwaj, Governor of Karnataka chose to send the report to the Government of India recommending President’s Rule. This is highly unconstitutional and undemocratic and tantamounts to subverting the entire federal framework. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has remarked in the S.R.Bommai Vs. Union of India case as follows:
“Let it be said that the federalism in the Indian Constitution is not a matter of administrative convenience, but one of principle – the outcome of our own historical process and a recognition of the ground realities”.
11. Surprisingly, the Governor asked the Chief Minister to again face Vote of Confidence once more on 14.10.2010. There are hardly any precedents for any Chief Minister being asked to face Vote of Confidence on two occasions within a gap of just three days! Obviously, Shri Bhardwaj believes in acting autocratically and unconstitutionally to serve his political interests. Nevertheless, the second Vote of Confidence took place on 14.10.2010 and was carried in favour of the Chief Minister with a division of votes.
12. At that time, the Hon’ble Speaker of the Karnataka State Legislature had disqualified 11 rebel BJP MLAs and 5 independent MLAs (who were then Ministers in the Cabinet). The orders of the Speaker disqualifying the above MLAs were also upheld by the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka. Recently, on 13th May 2011, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has set aside the orders of the Speaker, as a result of which the 16 disqualified MLAs have again become members of the Karnataka Legislature. 10 out of the 11 BJP MLAs whose Membership in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly has been restored by the recent order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, have given a letter to the Governor of Karnataka expressing unconditional support to the BJP Government led by Shri B.S.Yeddyurappa. These 10 MLAs also went to the Raj Bhavan on 15.05.2011 but were not given audience by the Governor.
13. With the support of these 10 rebel MLAs, the strength of the BJP in the Karnataka Legislature is 120 out of a total of 223. Further, on 13.05.2011 itself, the Cabinet had resolved to convene an emergent Session of the Legislature. The Governor has not given approval despite the Cabinet resolution to this effect. Instead, the Governor Shri H.R.Bhardwaj has summarily, arbitrarily and unconstitutionally, submitted a Special Report to the Government of India recommending to place the Karnataka Legislature under suspended animation. This is a completely unwarranted step when the duly elected Government has a comfortable majority in the Legislative Assembly.
14. No other conclusion can be drawn from the above actions of the Governor Shri H.R.Bhardwaj, except that he has been continuously misusing the office of the Governor to serve his and his party’s political interests through unconstitutional and partisan decisions and actions.
15. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has remarked in the S.R.Bommai Vs. Union of India case as follows:
“Democracy and Federalism are the essential features of our Constitution and are part of its basic structure. Any interpretation that is placed on Art. 356, must therefore help to preserve and not subvert their fabric”.
16. The mind set and the conduct of His Excellency is motivated by extraneous and collateral purposes, less as a Constitutional functionary and more as an activist of an Opposition Party. His utterances both in public and private amply testify the above conclusion.
17. The role and functioning of the Governor in the federal polity of India have time and again created controversies, culminating in several judicial pronouncements by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has also remarked in the S.R. Bommai case that “the exercise of power under Article 356 should under no circumstance be for a political game to the party in power in the Union Government. It should be used sparingly and with circumspection . . . .”
18. With several State Governments being ruled by different political parties other than the ruling Government at the centre, such behaviour of the Governor puts at stake the Federal fabric of the country, which is one of the foundation stones laid by our founding fathers.
19. In the circumstances, the dignity and prestige of the office of the Governor in Karnataka has suffered a great deal. Therefore, we are constrained to strongly urge Your Excellency, the President of India to urgently recall the services of Shri H.R.Bhardwaj as Governor of Karnataka, in the true spirit of our Constitution and our federal framework.
With kind regards,
Chief Minister, Government of Karnataka
Leader of BJP Legislature Party, Karnataka
Memorandum submitted by Karnataka Chief Minister Shri B.S. Yeddyurappa to the President of India
Smt. Pratibha Patil,
Her Excellency, the President of India,
List of 120 MLA’s of Karnataka with their names and signature is enclosed.
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