Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari pained by threatening tenor of CM’s letter | Mumbai news | #socialmedia


The tussle between the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari continued as he told chief minister Uddhav Thackeray in a letter that was circulated on social media on Wednesday that he was “pained” by the “threatening tenor” of the CM’s letter pertaining to the election to the Speaker’s post.

Thackeray had written a letter to the Governor on Monday informing him of the cabinet’s decision to conduct the assembly speaker’s election on December 28 by open vote instead of a secret ballot. This was the third letter addressed to Raj Bhavan on the matter; a letter recommending election to the Constitutional post was sent to the Governor on December 24, and a delegation of senior MVA leaders approached Koshyari with another letter from the CM, requesting his assent to hold the election, on December 26.

However, the Governor did not give his approval to hold the election and objected to an amendment in the rules for the election, made on December 23, which provided for open voting instead of a secret ballot.

Terming the amendment “unconstitutional” and “illegal”, Koshyari’s letter which circulated on Wednesday with its date cropped, said that he cannot be pressured to consent to the process as it needed to be legally examined.

The position fell vacant after senior Congress leader Nana Patole resigned to take up a party post (state party president) on February 4. Since then, deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal is holding charge of acting Speaker in the lower House.

“You mentioned that the said rules have been framed under Article 208 of the Constitution. It would be pertinent to mention that the same Article clearly elucidates that ‘A House of the Legislature of a State may make rules for regulating, subject to the provisions of the Constitution, its procedure and the conduct of its business…’ I am personally pained and dismayed to see the intemperate tone and threatening tenor of your letter which has belittled and denigrated the highest Constitutional Office of the Governor,” Koshyari’s letter stated.

“Consent for holding of this election under the amended rules which prima facie appear to be unconstitutional and illegal cannot be given at this stage. It is also noteworthy to mention that you have taken nearly eleven months to initiate the process of election of speaker and the Maharashtra Assembly Rules 6 and 7 have been amended drastically. Thus, the impact of these far-reaching amendments needs to be examined legally,” the letter added.

“I have never questioned the prerogative of the House in the matter of its procedure/proceedings; however, I cannot be pressurized to give consent to a process which prima facie appears to be unconstitutional and illegal as enshrined in the Article 208 of the Constitution,” Koshyari wrote.

“The Governor is expected to take decisions on the advice of the state government. We have been taking utmost care so that the position of the governor is not disrespected. Yesterday, the matter would have gone to extreme level but the MVA government chose to exercise restraint and it was decided that the Speaker election will be held with Governor’s permission,” Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai said.

Sena MP Sanjay Raut blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government and said that Koshyari was “under pressure”. “Koshyari is probably unhappy because he is under pressure from the central government. The union home ministry is pressuring him not to nominate 12 persons recommended by the MVA government as members of the legislative council,” Raut said.

Koshyari is still to clear the 12 names recommended by the state cabinet last year for appointment to the legislative council. Out of the 78 members of the upper house, 12 are appointed every six years by the Governor on the recommendation of the state government.

“The Governor has not said anything about powers of the legislature but sending him a letter in a threatening tone and giving an ultimatum to the Governor is shameful and has brought disgrace to the state. The unhappiness expressed by the Governor was obvious. The chief minister needs to take a stand as the head of the state and not as head of a party. He also needs to show some restraint,” state BJP leader Pravin Darekar said.

Congress, one of the three ruling parties in the state coalition demanded that Koshyari be recalled by the Central government. Congress state working president Arif Naseem Khan said, “Governor Koshyari is behaving like leader of a political party while working at a Constitutional position. He has been creating obstacles for the state government. This time he did not allow holding of the Speaker’s election. This is despite the state government following all the rules and procedures. He should be recalled by the central government,” Khan said in a release issued on Wednesday.

“Under Article 178 of the Constitution, the Speaker is chosen by the Assembly, which means it is an internal procedure of the House and the Governor has nothing to do with it. Similarly, Article 208 of the Constitution also states that the internal matter of the legislature is decided by the House, however, it must be in conformity with the Constitution, which has been followed in this case. It again means that it is the prerogative of the state Assembly whether the election is conducted by a secret ballot system or voice vote etc,” Ulhas Bapat, a constitutional expert said.

“In contrast, going by Article 163 of the Constitution, it is binding on the Governor to accept the whatever advice is given by the council of ministers with chief minister as its head, except in matters related to his discretionary powers and in this case he has no discretion given by the Constitution, thus the Governor has to accept the advice,” he added.

The MVA government and governor have been engaged in a series of spats over various issues. In February, the state government denied Koshyari permission to use the state’s airplane to travel to Dehradun. Last October, Koshyari and the CM wrote letters to each other over the reopening of places of worship. The Governor mocked the CM as “secular” while Thackeray reminded him of the Constitution and the oath he had taken. In September 2021, Governor wrote to CM following the Saki Naka rape incident, asking him to hold a two-day special session over security for women in the state. In response, Thackeray wrote back to Koshyari, saying that since violence against women was a national issue, the latter should request Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah to call a four-day special session of the Parliament to discuss the same. On December 28, the state passed the Maharashtra Public Universities Act Amendment Bill to curtail the powers of the Governor in appointing vice chancellors of various universities.

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