Lalu Prasad to take fight for Bihar to Supreme Court
Prasad’s ally Nitish Kumar dumped their so-called Grand Alliance on Wednesday and decided to partner with the Bharatiya Janata Party within hours, a development that Prasad has claimed should not have been allowed by governor.Updated: Jul 27, 2017 22:13 IST
The battle for Bihar is expected to reach the Supreme Court but legal experts see little hope for Lalu Prasad, who has said that he will approach the top court against the governor’s decision to not call his Rashtriya Janata Dal for government formation.
Prasad’s ally Nitish Kumar dumped their so-called Grand Alliance on Wednesday and decided to partner with the Bharatiya Janata Party within hours, a development that Prasad has claimed should not have been allowed by governor Keshri Nath Tripathi since his was the largest party by elected legislators.
Legal experts say there is nothing illegal about the governor’s action and that he had the prerogative to invite whoever he thought had a better shot at forming government.
“The idea of a single-largest party comes after election; after a crisis comes the concept of who has the larger and a stable combination – So the governor has the discretion to call on a combination or a party that will enjoy majority on the floor of the house,” said senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan.
Dhawan cited the example of Goa and Manipur, where too the governor’s action was challenged in the Supreme Court but nothing came of it.
The 2017 Goa elections saw a close contest in the 40-member assembly. BJP won 13 seats, while the Congress-NCP with 18 was the single largest collective. Yet the governor invited and appointed a BJP coalition with the MGP (three seats), Goa Forward Party (three seats) and three independents to form the government.
Congress took the matter to the Supreme court but its petition was dismissed. Chief Justice of India J S Kehar had then said, “Where are your numbers? You could have finished the case in 30 seconds by showing that BJP don’t have the numbers. It seems you were not confident about the support you have. You should have asked the governor what nonsense she is doing and confidently said look we have the numbers. You should have sat on a dharna. You did nothing. You could have filed affidavits of your supporters before us. You are putting us in the position of the governor. These things you should have stated before the governor,”
Senior advocate Sanjay hedge too is of the opinion that “there is no obligation on the governor to call on the leader of the largest party at this moment. The governor’s job is to find someone who will enjoy majority on the floor of the house and he has material before him to believe that the person sworn in will provide a stable government. But the governor has to ask the sworn-in to prove the majority as soon as possible.
Former Lok Sabha Secretary General and constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap too said the governor had the discretion to appoint anyone – but the only condition is that the governor should have the confidence that the person appointed enjoys the support of the majority on the floor of the house.
First Published: Jul 27, 2017 22:09 IST