Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari has not committed “any unconstitutional act” by recommending President’s rule in the state, legal experts said on Tuesday.
President’s rule was imposed in Maharashtra on Tuesday evening amid a political impasse, after Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari in a report to the Centre stated that formation of a stable government was impossible in the current situation despite all his efforts, drawing flak from non-BJP parties.
“I think the governor has committed no unconstitutionality in making the recommendation for President’s rule,” senior advocate and constitutional law expert Rakesh Dwivedi told PTI.
He said 18 days have passed since the declaration of election results and “it is a pretty long time for all the parties to decide with whom they want to form the alliance”.
Echoing his views, senior advocate Ajit Kumar Sinha said that the governor has “acted fairly”, and in such a matter where no party has come up before him with numbers to prove majority, he can certainly use his discretion and recommend President’s rule.
“By and large, it can be said that the governor has acted fairly. He can use his discretion. In the constitutional scheme, the governor has two options — either to call the party which has numbers to prove majority or to recommend President’s rule in case no party come up with numbers,” Sinha said.
Dwivedi said the political situation in the state is such that there can only be coalition government and till now no party has come forward to stake claim to form it.
“The chief minister has resigned and in the circumstances, the governor has talked to everybody… Of course, he did not talk to the Congress party…,” Dwivedi said, adding that the governor has acted fairly after exploring all possibilities.
Moreover, the parties are still free to approach the governor with their claim to form the government, he said.
“The imposition of President’s rule did not prohibit the political parties from forming the coalition and approaching the governor claiming they have the numbers,” he said.
Sinha referred to the options before Koshyari and said the governor had given a chance and time to the BJP, the largest party in terms of number of MLAs in the state, to stake a claim, but the party did not do it.
He said then the governor also gave a chance to the Shiv Sena, the second-largest party in Maharashtra, but there was nothing was forthcoming from them either.
“The Shiv Sena could have come up with the numbers before the governor to prove a majority. Their entire claim was in air and credibility was lacking as to whether they have the numbers or not,” Sinha said.
He said then the governor gave time to the NCP but there was nothing concrete from their side as well.
“This is an occasion where the governor can certainly exercise his discretion. He has applied his discretion after giving the opportunity to these parties. It appears to me personally that he has acted fairly,” he said.
On being asked about the Shiv Sena approaching the Supreme Court against the governor’s recommendation imposing President’s rule in the state, Sinha said, “The Supreme Court can certainly look into it and see whether there was any credible suggestion from Shiv Sena and whether they can prove majority.”
He said that till now the Shiv Sena has been unable to show either any letter of support from other parties or any press statements from the Congress and the NCP about supporting them in government formation in Maharashtra.