The Supreme Court today exercised its judgement to decide whether the contentious imposition of president’s rule in one of India’s most sensitive states goes against the grain of Co-operative Federalism; in other words, whether the Centre has tried to grab power by imposing its will on a state by jettisoning its elected government. A five judge bench put the decision of the government under the legal microscope and the government was clearly uneasy.
It’s counsel who raised a preliminary objection contending that the order notifying President’s rule had not been challenged in the fresh plea by the Congress Party was pulled up for raising technical objection. Describing the crisis borne from the Centre’s action as too serious, the Apex Court questioned the haste with which the government issued the notification. The Supreme Court wanted to know why the NDA went ahead even though the matter was sub judice. The government will now have to explain not just the haste but also prove its bonafides in court on the first of February.
While the NDA will argue its case persuasively one cannot help but think that a cynical history of political mercenarianism and power grab has been repeated in yet another state. Every so often, writes a columnist for an online portal, BJP or the Cong have learnt the art of wantonly violating the spirit of the Constitution while seemingly adhering to it. If the Congress has lost majority in the house, morality would have dictated it to acknowledge its minority status in the house and the BJP should have avoided the temptation of enticing the rebels to topple the government through machination and not by ballot. But is this too much to expect of our parties? That is the question.