Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Mr. Pranab Mukherjee was noted for his docility to the power center in the Congress Party; and because of that he was the choice of the Congress, then in power, for the post of the President of India. But, it seems, he has remained Pranab Mukherjee as yet, willing, as before, to comply with the whims of the leader of the ruling party. Otherwise he could never have signed the paper that imposed President’s rule in Uttarakhand, when a single day was left for the Chief Minister to give the proof of majority support to him in the Assembly as fixed by the Speaker.
Orissa Pradesh Congress President Prasad Harichandan has branded the President’s action as “a brazen instance of slaughter of parliamentary democracy”. He has said that, “the desperate act of the central government a day ahead of the floor test was to obviate Speaker’s decision. It violates rule of law and constitutionality meant to preserve parliamentary democracy in the country”.
The Constituent Assembly had made it clear that the central government must work in consultation with and under advice of the President, notwithstanding notorious clauses in the draft to make the President honor the collective wisdom of the central Cabinet in certain conditions. Intention of the Constituent Assembly was so clear and commanding that the President should have stayed above the undemocratic recommendation a Chief Minister’s rival political camp, which was contrived to destroy the democratic paramountcy of a speaker in matter of a State. Pranab Mukherjee, in the instant case, has blatantly failed to honor even his own oath while taking over the President’s office to safeguard the democratic nature of the Republic of India.
The whole country has watched how political instability was being fomented in Uttarakhand. If the country’s internal intelligence system has not collapsed in the present regime, the President should have studied the intelligence reports on the politically motivated hanky-panky generated in that province and juxtaposed his own oath-linked responsibility with the same and should further have determined his own course of action.
Where, in fact, the majority of a ruling party is to be tested?
Who, in fact, is empowered to test it?
The President is expected to have known the minimum reality that, it is the Assembly where the majority of the treasury bench is tested and it is the Speaker of the Assembly who alone is empowered to take the test.
In Uttarakhand, the Speaker had intervened and had fixed a day for the test. By fixing a day for majority test, the speaker had invoked and promulgated his paramount constitutional authority. But the President has desecrated this most desired democratic position of the Speaker.
Whosoever has the slightest respect for democracy in India, shall certainly feel ashamed of the greatest guard of democracy, who, in eagerness to safeguard his own incumbency, has played havoc with democracy.
Sad, the President has remained Pranab Mukherjee as yet.