Deviation from established constitutional position in convening House session will create constitutional crisis: Ex-law ministers to Raj Guv

Former law ministers Ashwani Kumar, Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid, in a letter to Mishra, said the governor was obliged by the Constitution to act on the advice of the state government in matters of convening the assembly session.
Ashwani Kumar
Ashwani Kumar

New Delhi, July 27: Three former law ministers on Monday wrote to Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra to immediately convene the assembly session, adding that any delay would mean the negation of his oath of office as a constitutional functionary and would create a constitutional crisis.

Former law ministers Ashwani Kumar, Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid, in a letter to Mishra, said the governor was obliged by the Constitution to act on the advice of the state government in matters of convening the assembly session.

The letter was sent with the Governor returning the state cabinet proposal for the second time in five days.

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“The delay in convening an assembly session as advised by the State Council of Ministers has resulted in an avoidable constitutional impasse. As per established conventions of the Constitution, principles of parliamentary democracy, the relevant articles of the Constitution and authoritative pronouncements of the Supreme Court, the Governor is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers in the matter of convening the state assembly.

The position of the Governor, his role and the limits of his constitutional jurisdiction have been elaborated by the Supreme Court, in its seven-judge judgment in Shamsher Singh versus Union of India case as early as 1974 and more recently in Nabam Rebia of 2016,” the ex-ministers said.

They said, “You are well aware that constitutional functionaries are charged by the oath of office to vindicate the Constitution in letter and in spirit. This obliges the Governor in accordance with established traditions of constitutional and parliamentary democracy to defer to the wisdom of an elected government that expresses the will of the people.”

The Congress veterans said the office of the Governor envisaged under our constitutional scheme is above and beyond the constraints and compulsions of partisan politics so that its holder can act freely and fairly to uphold the Constitution.

“Having served as union ministers of Law and Justice in different periods of time and as students of constitutional law, we are of the clear view that established legal position obliges the Governor to call the assembly session in accordance with the advice of the state cabinet. Any deviation from an established constitutional position in the present circumstances would be an avoidable negation of your oath of office and will create a constitutional crisis,” the former ministers said.

Ashwani Kumar, speaking to The Tribune, said, “Refusal of the governor to accept the advice of the state cabinet for convening the assembly session for a second time is an unprecedented infraction of the constitutional process and a brazen transgression of the powers of the governor. Regrettably, the conduct of the governor will inevitably lead to inter-institutional conflict undermining the foundations of parliamentary democracy. The nation had expected better from him.”

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