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No impropriety in governor’s decision to call Nitish Kumar to form govt: Experts

Constitutional experts said that Tripathi stuck to the precedent of calling the person who he thought was reasonably in a position to prove the majority.

india Updated: Jul 27, 2017 19:07 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rashtriya Janata Dal,RJD,Tejashwi Yadav
Nitish Kumar with senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi at an oath taking ceremony, at Raj Bhawan in Patna on Thursday. (PTI)

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav’s accusation the Bihar governor Keshari Nath Tripathi erred by inviting Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar to form the government and not the single-largest party has not found any takers among constitutional experts.

Governor Tripathi asked Kumar to form the government late on Wednesday night, hours after the JD(U) leader resigned as the chief minister citing differences with former ally, Lalu Prasad, over corruption charges in a land-for-hotel deal against Tejashwi, the RJD supremo’s son.

Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi administers oath to JD(U) National President Nitish Kumar as Bihar Chief MInister at Raj Bhawan, in Patna on Thursday. (PTI)

Kumar, while announcing his resignation, hinted at the corruption charges against Prasad and his family and said: “…I heard the voice of my conscience and decided to pull myself out of this coalition.”

Constitutional experts told the Hindustan Times that Tripathi stuck to the precedent of calling the person who he thought was reasonably in a position to prove the majority.

“Constitutionally speaking, there is no impropriety in the governor’s decision. He is within his rights to appoint anybody as the chief minister, the only condition is that the person, in his firm opinion, should be able to command a majority or is more likely to command a majority if the choice is between two,” Subhash Kashyap, constitutional expert, told HT.

Kashyap, a former member of the National Commission to Review the Working of Constitution and chairperson of its Drafting and Editorial Committee, however, said there is also an alternative.

“One alternative, that we have been suggesting in the constitutional commission and before and after, is that the House should elect its leader instead of asking the person selected by the governor to take the confidence of the House,” Kashyap said.

Even though the RJD has decided to challenge the governor’s decision, senior Supreme Court advocate Sanjay Hegde said if Kumar has the assurance of support from a majority of the MLAs and there is reasonable material for the governor to be satisfied that he has the majority there was no reason why he should not have been called.

“The governor should, however, ask him (Kumar) to seek a fresh vote of confidence as soon as possible,” Hegde told HT.

Pointing out that politics is the art of the possible, Hegde said a government should be formed within the exigencies of the legislative assembly. “If there is a possibility that a government can be formed, it should be done rather than having a fresh election.”

First Published: Jul 27, 2017 17:28 IST