THE IMPASSE between the Ashok Gehlot government and Governor Kalraj Mishra continued on Tuesday as the state cabinet sent another recommendation to Raj Bhavan — the third in six days — sticking to its demand for calling an Assembly session on July 31.
This comes a day after Mishra sought a revised proposal addressing three points: a 21-day notice for calling a session, live broadcast of the proceedings in case of a trust vote, and adequate social distancing measures in the House.
He had, however, said that “if the government wants to seek a trust vote, then this can be a reasonable basis for calling a session on short notice”. But, he said, while the Gehlot government’s comments, as reported in the media, make it clear that it wants a trust vote, it hasn’t mentioned this in its proposal.
The state government, in its fresh recommendation, has refused to mention whether it is seeking a trust vote. Sources told The Indian Express that the government has said that the agenda of the House is decided by the Business Advisory Committee (BAC).
“Regarding how a trust vote is to be held, whether it is to be recorded etc. all that is to be decided by the Speaker too,” said a source.
The Speaker is the ex-officio chairman of the BAC, which includes members from the ruling party and Opposition.
Section 22 under Chapter 6 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Rajasthan Assembly says: “On days allotted for the transaction of government business, such business shall have precedence and the Secretary shall arrange that business in such order as may be determined by the House on the recommendation of the Business Advisory Committee.”
Section 28(1) says: “A list of business for the day shall be prepared by the Secretary, and a copy thereof shall be made available for the use of every member.”
Citing the Covid pandemic, Mishra had said that a session cannot be called “without any special urgency”. “From what I know, there is no seating plan to accommodate all the 200 MLAs while maintaining social distancing,” he had said.
“This, again, is the prerogative of the Speaker. He has the jurisdiction within the premises of the House. Even the government and the Chief Minister have no involvement in it,” sources said.
“We don’t want a confrontation with the Governor but the Constitution of India has laid down the rights of the President, Prime Minister, Governor and others. Under Article 163 of the Constitution, the Governor is bound to accept the recommendation of the Council of Ministers. But he is continuously returning our proposals. He should specify the date (on which he wants to call an Assembly session), we are ready for all dates,” said State Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khachariyawas.
“The Governor is asking why we want to prove majority if we already have majority – he doesn’t have the right to ask this. On four occasions, the same Governor called an Assembly session on short notice,” Khachariyawas said, adding that if Mishra returns the file, it will be sent back to him again.
State Revenue Minister Harish Chaudhary said the Governor’s insistence on a 21-day notice was “baseless”. “Everyone who knows the Constitution, the rules and the law knows that it (21-day notice) is not mentioned anywhere. Only the cabinet has the right. Regarding his question on Covid and voting pattern, the government has no right, but the Speaker does,” he said.
“If the Governor wants to reach into the domain of the Speaker, toh who toh unki samajh hai (then it is as per his understanding). But does the Constitution permit one to encroach upon someone else’s domain? Being the Constitutional head, is the Governor there to protect our rights, or to curb them,” Chaudhary said.
“The Sachin Pilot camp and BJP need more time and, by asking the government to give a 21-day notice, the Governor is ensuring the same,” alleged a Congress leader.
On July 23, the Gehlot cabinet had first sent its recommendation for an Assembly session. After the Governor returned the proposal, the government sent a second proposal on July 25. The Governor returned this on Monday, and asked the government to send a fresh recommendation addressing the three points raised by him.
Meanwhile, AICC leader in charge of Rajasthan, Avinash Pande, has started a social media campaign, #GetWellSoonGovernor, “praying for his recovery from infection of BJP influenced oppressive thinking, so that he immediately gives his approval for calling an Assembly session and ensures that the Constitution and democracy are protected.”
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