Saturday, October 08, 2005

Bihar Assembly Dissolution

If there was any doubt on this government's slide into disgrace, it was clarified by the Supreme Court's verdict yesterday on the Bihar Assembly dissolution. I think its the first time since the S R Bommai case that a central government's usage of Article 356 has been declared unconstitutional. The response by Manmohan Singh is unlikely to be more than the transfer of Buta Singh (after he has helped Lalu Yadav to misuse official machinery in the elections).

Unfortunately for Manmohan Singh, this is not the first supreme court sponsored egg on his face. Alongwith his useless home minister Shivraj Patil, he has been a silent witness to constitutional massacres in three Raj Bhavans. (Rizvi in Jharkhand, Zamir in Goa and Buta Singh in Bihar) The supreme court might have used much harsher words against Rizvi, if this government had not woken up to the national outrage at that time.

In another rundown with the Judiciary, the Allahabad High Court last week quashed the fifty percent reservation in post graduate courses for Muslims in the Aligarh Muslim University introduced by the Manmohan Singh government. Can you believe a government funded/run university denying half of its seats to meritorious students? The quota obviously was a shameless display of votebank politics and minority appeasement. In two other instances this government has ridiculed the Supreme Court judgments and is trying to overturn them. First in the reservation in private colleges case and then in the Assam IMDT act case.

It might be easy for Manmohan Singh to dismiss all these constitutional improprieties as compulsions of coalition politics or the more embarrassing "I'm politically powerless and Sonia is the boss" response. But all his bunglings will go into the annals of history and he has no means to prevent that. To make things worse Sonia Gandhi now wants the five percent reservation for Muslims introduced by the Congress led Andhra Pradesh government to be implemented by the other Congress run states too. This act was termed as unlawful by the Andhra High court. I'm sure history will record it as "Five percent reservation for Muslims was introduced during Manmohan Singh's regime". Will Manmohan Singh be happy to have that credit?

And finally what will President Abdul Kalam respond, if a school kid asks him "Why is your rule in Bihar has been called unconstitutional?" Technically he is the one who has made all the above bunglings official with his signature. Surely if he had been politically honest, he would have returned the proclamation sent at midnight. I think its time for a reality check. For all his achievements in Science, he has been nothing more than a "rubberstamp" President. How better is he than Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed who is joked to have hurriedly signed the "Emergency Declaration" sent by Indira Gandhi while still in his bathtub?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Which President of India ever had any power, what-so-ever?
I know that answer - "none".

It is only upon the recommendation of the Union Cabinet that such 'acts' are committed. Why blame the President?

Anonymous said...

To think about it: if no political party came forward to stake a claim in Bihar (after almost 5 months?), should the political limbo be allowed to continue? If so, for how long?
What's wrong in dissolving the assembly and call for fresh elections. Maybe I am missing something here...

Balaji said...

President can always return the bill the first time. Kalam himself has in the past sent some bill back. Besides why should Kalam be part of the indecent haste to impose President rule at midnight. Does he sign all bills within minutes of getting them?

To the second question, did the Union Cabinet suddenly discover the political limbo at midnight?
The Bihar Assembly was already in Suspended Animation since March 7th. The cabinet members worked liked thieves at midnight to prevent Nitish Kumar from staking claim in the morning.

Anonymous said...

What do you mean by Kalam being dishonest? What has he to gain by doing this? Money?
What has he to lose by not doing this? His life?

Balaji said...

Is dereliction of duty not a form of dishonesty? (The duty here being upholding the spirit of the constitution) Maybe a bad choice of word but Kalam is guilty nevertheless. Yeah he did have something to lose. What about the cabinet's goodwill. If he had decided to discuss the cabinet's recommendation with constitutional experts or simply returned it, that would have paved way for a NDA government in Bihar the next morning. The cabinet and most certainly Laloo Yadav would not have been happy with that. So Kalam didn't have the guts to stand up?