The UPA ruled out any action against the Tamil Nadu government in the wake of the Supreme Court pulling up the state government on the bandh issue.
“We will do nothing to hurt the Tamil Nadu government. We are committed. They (DMK) are part of our government.
We will not disturb the state government remotely, directly or explicitly,” said Parliamentary Affairs Minister PR Dasmunsi. According to him, Chief Minister Karunanidhi was on a fast and was not violating any court order. “This is a non-violent response showing respect to Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals a day ahead of his birth anniversary,’’ he added.
The CPM dubbed the apex court’s remarks as an “uncalled for judicial encroachment” in the basic right of the people to strike. “Earlier, the Supreme Court had banned bandhs and hartals. Subsequently, this will apply to all forms of protest. We would like to point out to the judiciary that it had on many occasions decided not to intervene in executive decisions. Are we to understand that anyone who protests executive decision doesn’t have the right to do so?” said CPM’s Prakash Karat whose party had faced a similar situation in Kerala.
Supporting the transport workers strike, he said the law can apply to people who resort to violence during strikes. In Tamil Nadu, he said, there is no breakdown of the constitutional machinery a charge the BJP leveled on the ground that the DMK’s bandh took place despite the court’s stay on it.
‘No restraint on peaceful protest’
BJP general secretary Arun Jaitely said Prakash Karat’s remark that the Supreme Court has taken away the right to protest by remarking against the DMK government is exaggerated. “There is no restraint on peaceful form of protest. The apex court has only restrained coercive form of protest. Karat is in a position only to overrule the Prime Minister and not the Supreme Court whose orders must be obeyed if one did not agree with it and later seek review.”
Jaitely said, “no litigant, political party or government can arrogate to themselves authority to decide whether the order is worthy of compliance or not. If they did so, it will be a charter for anarchy. The DMK and the state government have done indirectly what they were prevented from doing directly. The Centre watched the situation helplessly.”
BJP for ousting Baalu
BJP president Rajnath Singh asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to drop Surface Transport Minister TR Baalu and dismiss the DMK ministry in Tamil Nadu in the wake of the Supreme Court’s observation on Monday.
Singh said the Tamil Nadu government lost the constitutional right to stay in power as several parts of the state struck work
defying the Supreme Court stay on the bandh call given by the ruling DMK.
“Tamil Nadu is facing a situation of constitutional breakdown. It has no right to stay in power. The PM must stand upright and display the courage to uphold the true spirit of the Constitution."
BJP spokesperson Rajiv Prasad Ruddy said the party’s memorandum to President Pratibha Patil four days ago had expressed apprehension about breakdown in the constitutional machinery in the state as observed by the apex court.
AICC plays safe
Unlike the UPA, the AICC walked the tightrope on the issue. “The matter is subjudice,” said spokesman Abhishek Singhvi to queries, including on judicial overreach and DMK government’s dismissal.
“The Supreme Court speaks through its written judicial order. The comments or exchanges during the proceedings are internal and privileged. Secondly, the matter is yet to be listed,” he said.