War of words grows louder
The Centre and the Congress on Saturday backed Karnataka governor HR Bhardwaj’s move to grant sanction to prosecute chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, saying the decision was in accordance with the law.
“If anyone is aggrieved, they have the option to take legal remedies,” was their suggestion to Yeddyurrapa and the BJP. Home minister P Chidambaram said it was not the first time a governor has given his sanction to prosecute a CM or a minister. “The law in this respect is clear and well-settled,” he said in a statement.
Citing the 2004 case of MP Special Police Establishment versus State of Madhya Pradesh (vol. 8 SCC page 788), Chidambaram said then governor of Madhya Pradesh, Bhai Mahavir overruled the Cabinet’s advice and granted sanction to prosecute two ministers. A five-Judge bench of the SC later upheld the governor’s order.
He also drew the BJP’s attention to Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde’s statement in which he observed the governor had the jurisdiction to grant sanction for prosecution.
Echoing his views, law minister Veerappa Moily said the BJP by opposing the decision was defending corruption.
“Everyone is equal before law. Governor has full authority to sanction prosecution of a chief minister who does not enjoy immunity. Everything is on record about corruption and nepotism (of Yeddyurappa) and even BJP had asked him to quit,” he said in Mumbai.
The Congress said there was “absolutely no need” for the BJP to indulge in political blame-game. “The power which the Constitution entrusts to the governor, has been exercised and the remedy, if any, is court redressal and not political allegation or deliberate breakdown in law and order, by the BJP, for the BJP in a BJP ruled state,” spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.