Bharadwaj’s sanction unconstitutional, Yeddyurappa won’t quit: BJP


New Delhi: Ruling out resignation of Karnataka Chief Minister B.S.Yeddyurappa, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Saturday termed as unconstitutional Governor H.R. Bhardwaj’s sanction to prosecute him on charges of nepotism, and said if this practice increases, it will be very easy for central government to destabilise state governments.

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Senior party leader Arun Jaitley, who is also Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said the governor by giving sanction for prosecution has created an adverse atmosphere against the chief minister and that his action was politically motivated.

“The governor by acting on his own, without waiting for the advice of the council of ministers, besides having acted unconstitutionally, has challenged the basis of democratic functioning where a primacy/role is given to the council of ministers. In the present case, the consideration of the matter by the council of ministers and its advice being placed before the governor was necessary – a procedure not followed,” Jaitley said in a statement.

Going into the legal aspects, Jaitley said the sanction has been granted on an application by two lawyers. He said it was being perceived that they can file a criminal complaint against the chief minister and it is for the judge trying the cases to get it investigated or to take cognizance of the offences.

“Ordinarily, sanction is required under Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, only at the stage of taking cognizance of the offence and not at the stage of filing of a complaint,” Jaitley said.

“However, the governor has chosen to precipitate the matter by granting a sanction even when the stage for taking a cognizance of the offence has not reached, only to create an adverse environment against the chief minister,” he said.

Jaitley said a larger question arises whether without an investigative process or a judicial proceeding finding a chief minister or a prime minister, prima facie, guilty of an act of corruption, can a governor or the president grant a sanction to a private citizen to prosecute them.

He said the practice of appointing politicians as governors has increased and the Karnataka governor has acted as an investigator and sanctioned prosecution against the chief minister without an investigation or a judicial authority coming to any conclusion.

“If this practice increases, it would be very easy for the central government to destabilize state governments. The governor has not waited for the investigative process to conclude or a judicial process to come to any finding, prima facie or otherwise,” he said.

Referring to statements of Karnataka Lok Ayukta Justice Santosh Hegde and Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Jaitley said it gives an impression as though the governor has acted in a constitutionally correct manner.

“What the union home minister has ignored is the explicit observation of the Supreme Court that even though the governor can act independent of the decision of the council of ministers and act in his own discretion, yet the issue of sanction has first to be considered by the council of ministers,” he said.

Earlier, BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy termed the governor “an agent of the centre on a political agenda” and asserted that the “democratically elected Yeddyurappa has every right to continue in the post.”

“The rights of the people of Karnataka and their aspirations cannot be usurped by an agent of the centre,” Rudy told reporters here, alleging Bhardwaj was sent by the central government on a “political agenda to destabilise the BJP government in Karnataka and install a Congress government in that place”.

The governor Friday night gave two Bangalore-based advocates, Sirajin Basha and K.N. Balaraj, permission to launch criminal proceedings against Yeddyurappa over revelations that the chief minister had favoured his close kin with prime land in and around Bangalore. The chief minister later made his relatives surrender the land after a row broke out in November.