Published On: Mon, Feb 27th, 2023

Punjab Government moving Supreme Court over convening Budget Session of State Assembly

        The Punjab Government has been “forced” to move the Supreme Court over the issue of summoning the Budget Session of the State Assembly as the Governor is not responding to the Cabinet’s decision in this regard, Aam Aadmi Party national spokesperson Raghav Chadha said on Sunday.

The AAP leader said the matter will be mentioned in the apex court on Monday morning.

         Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also said his government now has to move the apex court for calling the Budget Session of State Assembly and alleged that the Governors appointed by the Centre are “acting as star campaigners of the saffron party in the respective States”.

        The tussle between Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had worsened Thursday with Mr. Purohit indicating he is in no hurry to summon the Assembly’s Budget Session, and reminding the CM about his “derogatory” response to a letter from Raj Bhavan.

         Mr. Purohit’s letter to CM Mann had come two days after the Punjab Cabinet decided to call the Assembly session from March 3 and requested the Governor to summon the House.

         “On 22nd Feb 2023, the Punjab Cabinet asks the Punjab Governor to summon the Budget Session of the Assembly from 3rd March 2023.

      “On 23rd Feb 2023, Punjab Governor says he needs to take legal advice on that. Till date Governor not reverted on this issue,” Chadha said on Twitter.

          In another tweet, the AAP Rajya Sabha MP said, “Settled law that Governor has to summon Assembly as per advise of Cabinet sought to be overridden by Governor… We have been forced to move Supreme Court on something as basic as summoning Budget Session of Punjab Assembly. Matter will be mentioned tomorrow morning in SC.”        

Mr. Mann said on Twitter in Punjabi, “Glimpses of the world’s largest democracy: Go to the Supreme Court for the appointment of Mayor despite having majority in Delhi [MCD]..Go to the Supreme Court for appointment of Deputy Mayor… Now, to conduct the Budget Session of Punjab Assembly, have to move the Supreme Court… Search for democracy continues.”

Meanwhile, according to a State Government statement, Mr. Mann said that the Governors appointed by the Centre are “acting as star campaigners of the saffron party in the respective States”.

“It is unfortunate the Raj Bhavans have turned into BJP headquarters for dictating the elected governments,” Mr. Mann, who was speaking at an event in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar, said.

Mr. Mann asserted that in democracy “elected and not the selected persons appointed from Union Government are supreme”, the statement said.

        In his latest communication, Mr. Purohit had told Mr. Mann that he will take a call on summoning the Budget Session only after taking legal advice on the CM’s response to the issues raised by him in an earlier letter.

In that February 13 letter, the Governor had asked Mr. Mann to explain the process of selecting 36 government school principals for a training seminar held recently in Singapore, and raised other issues as well.

Mr. Mann had responded that he was only answerable to three crore Punjabis, not to a Centre-appointed Governor and also questioned the Centre’s criteria for appointing Governors.

Mr. Purohit had called Mr. Mann’s replies not only “patently unconstitutional but extremely derogatory” also, saying he was compelled to take legal advice.

“Since your tweet and letter both not only patently unconstitutional but extremely derogatory also, therefore, I am compelled to take legal advice on this issue. Only after getting legal advice, I will take decision on your request,” said Mr. Purohit in the new letter.

On February 13, Mr. Purohit had questioned the selection of school principals for a foreign trip for a training seminar, saying he has received complaints of “malpractices and illegalities”. He had also raised issues of “illegal” appointment of Punjab Agricultural University vice-chancellor and promotion of an IPS officer who was shunted out for alleged misconduct, among others.

          Claiming that Mr. Mann “never cared to reply” to his letters in the past, Mr. Purohit had told the Chief Minister that people did not elect him to run the State according to his “whims and fancies” and that as per the Constitution, he is “bound to furnish” any information sought by Raj Bhavan.

          The Governor had asked the Chief Minister to reply to his letter within a fortnight, failing which he would seek legal advice for further action.

           Last year too, there had been a squabble between the Governor and the AAP Government over holding a session of the Punjab Assembly.

The Governor had withdrawn the permission to hold a special session on September 22 after seeking legal opinion when the AAP Government wanted to bring a confidence motion only in the House.

Later, the Governor gave his nod only after the government provided details of the legislative business.

        In October, Governor Purohit had refused to approve the AAP Government’s pick for the vice chancellor’s post at Faridkot’s Baba Farid University of Health Sciences.

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