IF THE face-off between Raj Bhawan and the Allahabad High Court were to be viewed in the backdrop of observations that the Supreme Court made on Tuesday, Raj Bhawan will find itself on the back foot now.
Besides the observations about the tone and tenor of the letters from Raj Bhawan, the SC has also spoken about the communication gap that existed between the two constitutional bodies. “The Governor should have invited the Chief Justice for dinner and sorted out the issue,” observed the SC. “Had I been the Chief Justice (of the High Court), I would have invited the Governor for tea to sort out the issue,” said the SC.
True, there has been a communication gap not only between Raj Bhawan and the HC, but also between Raj Bhawan and the State Government, or even with other public institutions. If observers are to be believed, Raj Bhawan has drawn an iron curtain around itself during the tenure of TV Rajeswar as Governor.
So Raj Bhawan continues to remain in the eye of the storm. Take the Raj Bhawan-HC standoff first. There could have been a meeting between the Governor and Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court to sort out the issue, instead of shooting off letters to each other one after the other. This can still take place in view of the SC’s observations: “The pendency of this matter before the Supreme Court would not prevent the Governor and the Allahabad High Court Chief Justice from resolving the issue.”
As the SC has left the Governor’s additional legal advisor Pradeep Dubey issue to the HC, there is a question mark on how Raj Bhawan will move ahead to bury the hatchet.
Besides differences over the Dubey issue, Raj Bhawan also remained at loggerheads with the State Government when the latter unilaterally relieved Principal Secretary to the Governor Luv Verma. The Governor’s observations about the need to learn English also invited a strong reaction from the CM. His announcement on introducing the police commissioner system at the ceremonial police parade also evoked sharp reactions.
A piquant situation had arisen when CM Mulayam Singh Yadav requested Rajeswar not to visit the riot-affected areas of Mau. The CM had taken strong exception when the Governor asked senior IAS officers to conduct an inquiry against the universities. Later, senior IAS officer GB Patnaik (who conducted the inquiry) himself faced an inquiry for following the Governor’s orders.
His decision to dismiss V-Cs was another unique case made him the target of a section of the ruling coalition. Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan had frequently targeted the Governor after the latter decided to send a message to the Vidhan Sabha when the State Government tabled the Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar University Bill. In such a situation, will Raj Bhawan introspect and change its style of functioning, bridge the gap and make itself more open now?