NEW DELHI: Coming out in support of the imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said the Harish Rawat government of Congress was murdering democracy everyday from the March 18-27.
He pointed out that Article 356 can be invoked only if the President is satisfied that there are grounds for believing that the governance of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the Constitution.
“Having plunged the State into a serious Constitutional crisis by continuing a Government, which should have quit after the failure of the Appropriation Bill, and further complicating the crisis, Jaitley alleged, “The Chief Minister started allurement, horse-trading and disqualification with a view to altering the composition of the House.”
This leaves the State without any approved financial expenditure with effect from April 1; and now, it is incumbent upon the Central Government to ensure that steps are taken under Article 357 to authorise expenditure of the State,” he added.
In a Facebook post, ‘A State Without A Budget’, the Finance Minister said the Constitutional breakdown was compounded further after the Speaker decided to disqualify some members even after the Assembly had been put under suspended animation and the decision was made public.
“On March 18th,” he said, “it appears that 35 members (27 from the BJP and nine Congress rebels) voted against the Appropriation Bill and 32 in favour. There is documentary evidence both prior and subsequent to the Assembly Session to suggest that these 35 members asked for a Division of Votes. The proceedings of the Assembly circulated in writing, establishes the charge that a Division was asked for and yet it was claimed that the Appropriation Bill has been passed without a vote.”
Stating that there are strong facts to suggest that the Appropriation Bill was actually defeated, Jaitley added, “This is an unprecedented case of a Speaker declaring a failed Appropriation Bill as passed and then failing to certify falsehood. This leaves the State without any approved financial expenditure with effect from April 1. What better evidence do we need of a breakdown of Constitution?”
“As there are strong facts to suggest that the Appropriation Bill was defeated, and as consequence, the Government had to resign, said Jaitley, adding: two further consequences flow out of this — first, the Appropriation Bill sanctioning expenditure from April 1 was not approved; and, second, if the Bill was defeated, the continuation of the Government subsequent to March 18 is unconstitutional.
“It is to be noted that till today, neither the Chief Minister nor the Speaker have forwarded a certified copy of the Appropriation Bill to the Governor. Obviously, there is no assent of the Governor to the Appropriation Bill,” he pointed out.
In any case, all facts surrounding the alleged discussion and passage of the Appropriation Bill clearly indicate its non-passage, said Jaitley, adding that there is a cloud and a serious doubt about the Bill.
“There is a complete breakdown of the Constitutional machinery in as much as the Government, which should have resigned on March 18 with the failure of Bill, has decided to continue. As of today, there is no Appropriation Bill certified by the Speaker which has received assent of the Governor,” he said, noting that if it is Speaker’s case that the rebels voted in favour of the Appropriation Bill and, hence, it has been passed, then “the rebels could not have been disqualified”.
Stating that the Congress party in Uttarakhand split after a section of the leadership alleged that they were dissatisfied both with the Chief Minister and the central leadership of the party, Jaitley added that on March 18, the majority was declared to be a minority and vice versa while on March 27, the composition of the House was attempted to be changed in violation of the Constitution to convert a minority into a majority.