THE recent events that have taken place in Karnataka politics evidence the complete destruction of political morality which tend to destroy the faith of the people in our democratic system as also dire consequences of abuse of provisions of the Constitution and of imposing conditions not sanctioned by the Constitution, by the constitutional functionary. In the first instance, inspite of the fact that there has been solemn agreement between the two political parties namely the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (Secular) [JD(S)] that out of the remaining 40 months of the life of the assembly as on the date when they entered into agreement, in the first 20 months the leader of the JD(S) shall be the Chief Minister and in the next 20 months the leader of BJP shall be the Chief Minister, it was violated with impunity by JD(S) after enjoying the Chief Ministership and political power for a period of 20 months.
Secondly, when the JD(S) Chief Minister tendered resignation after the withdrawal of support by the BJP on the ground that he failed to transfer power to the leader of BJP in terms of the gentleman'sagreement, the Governor recommended to the Central Government for imposition of President'srule. On such a recommendation the Central Government imposed President'sRule. However, the assembly was kept under suspended animation having due regard to the Supreme Court judgement in S.R. Bommai'scase that assembly should not be dissolved until Parliament approves the proclamation.
As the Assembly was kept under suspended animation in view of the judgement of the Supreme Court in S.R. Bommai'scase the JD(S) on coming to know that there was possibility of split in the party, some of them joining hands with the Congress party to form the Government, the JD(S) approached the BJP voluntarily and gave unconditional support in favour of BJP to form the Government. The Governor of Karnataka submitted a report to the effect that BJP legislators together with JD(S) legislators who have filed individual affidavits extending unconditional support to the BJP and who had also presented 129 legislators before him were in a position to form a Government.
On the basis of the Governor'sreport, the Central Government took a decision in accordance with the democratic principles and vacated the President'sRule and enabled the Governor to appoint a Chief Minister who enjoyed the support of the majority of legislators particularly for the reason that unconditional support had been extended by the JD(S) legislators which was incorporated in their affidavits.
When 129 legislators were presented not only before the Governor but also before the President and the Governor was satisfied that Sri B.S. Yeddyurappa enjoyed the majority support, he rightly appointed Sri Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister in exercise of power under Article 164(1) of the Constitution. Once the Governor is satisfied about the majority support enjoyed by an individual who had laid his claim for being appointed as Chief Minister and the Governor appointed him, the Constitution nowhere authorises the Governor to impose a condition that he should seek vote of confidence in the legislature. Inspite of the absence of such a provision in the Constitution on account of wrong procedure followed by a few Governors earlier, the Governor imposed such a condition which created further political instability. It is this imposition of such an uncalled for condition which resulted in a non-functioning council of ministers.
I had an occasion to consider the question as to whether it is open for the Governor after appointing a person as Chief Minister to impose a condition that he should take vote of confidence in the assembly, when I was the Governor of Jharkhand when the incumbent Chief Minister resigned as a few ministers withdrew their support to him. Thereafter, before appointing another person as Chief Minister who satisfied me that he enjoyed majority, on examination of the constitutional provisions and in consultation with the constitutional experts, I found that imposition of such a condition is not authorised by the Constitution though such impermissible condition had been imposed by some of the Governors. Therefore, I appointed a new person as Chief Minister and refused to impose any condition to the effect that he should take vote of confidence in the assembly within any specified time stating that after appointment of Chief Minister he can be removed only by vote of no confidence moved according to the rules of business of the House.
The occasion for the Governor to call upon the Chief Minister to take vote of confidence arises only when some of the legislators who had extended support to an incumbent Chief Minister withdrew their support to him and it appears to the Governor that the CM does not enjoy the majority support. However, at the time of appointment of a person as Chief Minister the Governor is only to be satisfied that the incumbent person enjoys majority support and appoint him as Chief Minister. Once on such satisfaction, the appointment is made, nothing further remains for the Governor and he has no authority under the Constitution to impose a condition to the effect that the appointee should seek vote of confidence within the time prescribed by the Governor. If in any case, at any time thereafter any one feels that the Chief Minister does not enjoy majority, he is at liberty to move vote of no confidence.
It is the imposition of such an uncalled for condition which created further political instability and gave a handle to the president of JD(S) to make a somersault and getting a whip issued by the leader of JD(S) group in the Assembly to vote against Sri B.S. Yeddyurappa for reasons known to him only and overtly on the ground that the BJP did not agree to execute a bond as desired by the JD(S) which was unwarranted by the provisions of the Constitution and in breach of the affidavit filed before the Governor extending unconditional support in favour of Sri B.S. Yeddyurappa. After having filed affidavits before the Governor extending unconditional support and thereafter issuing a whip not to support him indicate the abysmal depth to which the political morality has descended.
The resultant position has been colossal waste of public money and time and more than that loss of public confidence in the whole democratic system of the Country.
Subsequent statements made by several JD(S) legislators in the media clearly indicate that they were desirous of voting in favour of Sri B.S. Yeddyurappa but they were prevented from doing so on account of the whip issued by JD(S) party not to vote in favour of Sri B.S. Yeddyurappa by abusing the provisions of the 10th Schedule to the Constitution.
Thus, the 10th Schedule to the Constitution which was introduced as a remedy for the evil of change of party by elected representatives which was creating political instability and ?horse trading? which popularly came to be known as Aaya Ram-Gaya Ram syndrome, is found to be worse than the evil, in that it has been used as political tool by issuing whip to all the JD(S) legislators to vote against Sri B.S. Yeddyurappa notwithstanding the fact that all of them were in favour of Sri Yeddyurappa. The resulting tragedy was, he had to resign despite having majority support. These events are such which should be taken note of by the Parliament and remedial measures should be incorporated to prevent such unscrupulous and immoral conduct which is highly injurious to our democratic system. I had an occasion to consider the question whether it is open for the Governor, after appointing a person as Chief Minister to impose a condition that he should take vote of confidence in the Assembly, when I was the Governor of Jharkhand when the incumbent Chief Minister resigned as a few ministers withdrew their support to him.