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SC holds Governor guilty, says he misled the Centre

SC said that Buta Singh's motive was to prevent JD(U) from forming Govt. Crisis

india Updated: Jan 24, 2006 17:34 IST

In a severe indictment of Bihar Governor Buta Singh, the Supreme Court on Tuesday held that he misled the Centre in recommending the dissolution of the state assembly.

The court said that the Union Council of Ministers should have verified before accepting Buta's report as gospel truth.

The apex court, in its interim order on October 7, 2005, had opined that the dissolution was unconstitutional.

The court concluded that the Governor acted in "undue haste" in sending his report. His full motive was to prevent JD (U) from staking claim to form a government in the state after a fractured election verdict.

Giving detailed reasons why the dissolution was unconstitutional, a five-judge bench in a 3-2 judgement, said the Governor misled the Council of Ministers by sending a report containing "unascertained facts."

The SC in its interim order had opined that although the dissolution was unconstitutional, the polls were unavoidable due to changed circumstances.

The court verdict had come on a batch of petitions by a group of legislators of the dissolved assembly and a PIL by a Supreme Court advocate.

The bench said that the Governor's report contained "fanciful assumptions," which could be destructive to democracy.

Terming his action as "drastic and extreme," the bench said the court couldn't be a silent spectator to such "subversion of the Constitution."

It said that the time has come to consider a National Policy outlining common norms for appointment of Governors, which would be acceptable to all political parties.

It held that the Governor enjoyed complete immunity and was not answerable in exercise of constitutional power but Article 361 does not take away from the court the power to deal with the validity of his action.

First Published: Jan 24, 2006 11:03 IST