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In Focus

March, 15

Travesty of Democracy by Modi Govt & Has the Supreme Court Erred?

 Randeep Singh Surjewala, In-Charge, Communications, AICC

Abduction, defection, inducement, intimidation and polarization characterize the vision for “New India” under Mr. Modi. The BJP’s machinations are at full display in its pursuit to defeat the people’s mandate and to install a rejected party at the helm in Panaji and Imphal by violating every canon of constitutional propriety. 

The BJP’s argument that the Governor was not obliged to invite the single largest party to form the Government is not only specious but demonstrates a lack of understanding of settled legal principles. A 9 judge Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court in the case of S.R. Bommai vs. Union of India has categorically laid down that, “We make it clear that what we have said above is confined to a situation where the incumbent Chief Minister is alleged to have lost the majority support or the confidence of the House. It is not relevant to a situation arising after a general election where the Governor has to invite the leader of the party-commanding majority in the House or the single largest party/group to form the government”. 

This principle is the law of the land and in the absence of a clear majority, the Governor by virtue of the judgment in Bommai’s case is duty bound to first “invite” the single largest party/group to form the Government, which in the present case is the Congress party in both the states of Goa and Manipur. 

A great jurist once said, “Supreme Court is not always right; sometimes it is also right because it is final.” Did the Supreme Court err in appreciating this unequivocal Constitutional position? If ‘majority mandate’ is to be tested on ‘who rushed to the Governor first’, we would be setting a dangerous precedent where Governors would play the ‘black magic’ of converting ‘minority’ into ‘majority’. This would turn the constitutional obligation of the Governors under Article 164 on its head.  By no stretch of imagination could the Supreme Court be deemed to have reinterpreted established Constitutional conventions and law in this fashion. 

The Goans not only elected the Congress as the single largest party with 17 seats plus 1 independent but also decisively defeated the sitting BJP Government, including its sitting Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar as also 6 sitting BJP Ministers, bringing the tally of BJP from 21 MLA’s in last Assembly to 13 in the present one. The BJP with 13 MLA’s has cobbled an arrangement of vested interests wherein the law of the land and the will of the people have been subverted at the altar of political expediency and legitimacy. The BJP that claims to be a “party with a difference” have truly demonstrated their “difference” by trampling on institutions and the mandate of the people. It is now clear that Modi ji’s brand of ‘New India’ is founded on ‘Defections rather than ‘Elections’. A similar sinister game has been played out in Imphal, converting a minority of 21 MLA’s into a majority ignoring the majority mandate of 28 Congress MLA’s. 

The evidence of their shenanigans was clear when the BJP President, Shri Amit Shah claimed on March 11, that they would be forming the Government in Goa and Manipur even before the counting was over. Democracy has been the casualty in this charade orchestrated by the BJP. This trend initiated by the BJP of destabilizing and toppling legitimately elected Governments and pre-empting the formation of duly elected party formations by using money and muscle power is disturbing and constitutes a direct threat to the very foundation of our nation. In a liberal democracy that rests on the will of the people, the means to an end is as important as the end itself.  This is not an affront to the Congress party but to India’s Democracy. Each one of us needs to rise up to meet this diabolical challenge.     

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