Human rights are an end in itself and not means to an end, Kant. In the past week two of the most cherished human rights in a democracy have been tweaked. Right to be represented in the parliament is one such right. Of late, this right has been exploited by the political class for ulterior reasons. To read about violation of Article 21 UDHR in Karnataka Assembly Elections read my previous blog. This piece first talks about the political fiasco that this past week was, then discusses the propriety of the provision of appointment of an Anglo-Indian member by the Governor and ultimately questions the office of the Governor itself.
From the North, all eyes were again shifted to the South where 2 congress MLAs were abducted as alleged by the Congress. At 3:30 PM. Mr. Yeddyurappa without facing the floor test resigned after an eight minutes long emotional speech, ending his three-day tenure as the CM of Karnataka which turned out to be one of the shortest in Indian history and walked out of the assembly with the BJP legislators and Pro-tem speaker before the national anthem. This gave one more chance to opposition parties to attack the BJP. Rahul Gandhi, National President of Congress, said “It shows they can disrespect any institution if in power.” It is also interesting to see that it was Mr. Yeddyurappa who resigned as the CM of Karnataka after just eight days in 2007.
Though, the drama at the south ends through resignation but what Karnataka Former Chief Minister BSY did on Saturday had been done by Atal Bihari Vajpayee two decades ago- resign without facing a floor test. Mr. Vajpayee had also made an emotional speech before announcing his resignation in 1996. The 13-day Vajpayee government was later replaced by the by H D Deve Gowda, whose son H D Kumaraswamy is now set to be the next Chief Minister of Karnataka with Congress’s support.
The whole drama had come down to who can best exploit the provisions of the Constitution. One such loophole is the practice of nominating Anglo-Indian MLAs. Article 333 of the Constitution gave Governor the power to nominate one member of that community to the assembly. Is the system of nominating Anglo-Indian legislators still relevant or is it time to discard this as an arcane Raj relic?
Karnataka Assembly is not the first instance where questions have been raised on the nomination of the Anglo Indian member. In Uttarakhand in 2007, the BJP nominated Kayen Meyer Hilton under Article 333, to raise its tally from 35 to 36 in the 71-member House. In the present context, does the Anglo-Indian community need special representation in our legislative bodies? If yes, why the same privilege shouldn’t be extended to other small minorities, such as Parsis? Also, has the provision really given benefits to the community or has it become just a tool for political parties to increase their strength in the House?
The office of the Governor has been in question several times before the Supreme Court. It is seen that Governors act per the directions given by the power ruling at the Centre forgetting their Constitutional duties. This time the servile t behavior of the Karnataka Governor was ridiculed so much that a Congressi leader said that in coming time people would name their dogs as Vajubhai Vala. Undoubtedly Congress stooped to a new low today. Among the various political institutions many would like to see reform, the office of the Governor would probably lead the list.
Author: Aman Chachan