Haryana governor truncates special address, triggers debate
Haryana governor Satyadeo Narain Arya, 80, delivered an insipid address to the newly constituted state assembly in five minutes flat on Tuesday morning.
Arriving nine minutes behind the scheduled time of 10.30am, Arya began his address at 10.42am to finish it at 10.47am. He read half a page of the preface and the concluding paragraph of the speech.
The truncated address of the governor became a subject of debates among legal and constitutional experts. They say when the governor makes due attempt to perform the duty under Article 176, but fails and walks out of the House and makes up the failure by publication of the address to the members of the legislature by a well known method, namely, by laying the address on the table of the House, the duty is merely irregularly performed…
The Rajasthan High Court, however, in a 1966 judgment had said that the governor reading some portions of his speech from the beginning and some portions of his concluding speech, and the House by its resolution taking the speech as read, would said to have been delivered. As per a treatise — Governor’s role in the Indian Constitution — the address under Article 175 (1) and the address under 176 (1) is not the same thing. “It is obligatory for the governor in the case of the latter while it is not so in the former case. It is his right under Article 175 whereas it is his duty under Article 176. And there is a gulf of difference between right and duty,” it states.
Misses key points
The governor’s 12-page speech also did not make a reference to the proposed common minimum programme (CMP) of the BJP-JJP coalition. The election manifestos of the BJP and the JJP that will form the foundation of the CMP have several areas where the two allies are on the same page. For instance, both are committed to waiving farm loans taken from co-operative financial institutions; supporting better remuneration for crops and improving the minimum support price (MSP) regime; encouraging horticulture activity; setting up a separate department for youth development and employment, and discontinuing establishment of liquor vends in village ‘abadi’ area.
While the governor’s written address talked out water scarcity, creation of adequate employment opportunities, reforms in education sector, more spending in health sector, gender equality, women empowerment, fight against substance abuse, infrastructure creation, clean environment among other reforms, it did not touch upon the government’s professed policy of zero tolerance for corruption.
Former parliamentarian raises red flag
JJP’s Guhla MLA and former Rajya Sabha member Ishwar Singh told speaker Gian Chand Gupta that conventions and protocol were breached while ushering the governor in the House.
“The governor was ushered in a silent manner. There was no announcement at all. The House marshal should have done it ,” Singh said, leaving the speaker searching for answers. Though the speaker tried to clarify that governor’s scheduled arrival was communicated to the MLAs on Monday itself, he sounded unconvincing. “Had I been here, I would have ensured the announcement. But I was obligated to accompany the governor when he entered the House,” Gupta said.
The assembly members handbook detailing procedures and rules says: “On the date of the address, the governor comes in a procession along with the speaker and the principal secretary, Haryana Vidhan Sabha, to the assembly chamber. Members take their seats 10 minutes before the governor arrives and rise in their places on the entry of the governor, which is indicated by the sergeant-at-arms and the members remain standing till national song is played and the governor has taken his seat on the dias.”
In the 90-member assembly, the strength of BJP is 40 and its ally JJP has 10 MLAs. There are 31 Congress MLAs, seven Independent legislators and one legislator each of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Haryana Lokhit Party (HLP).