The perceptible bonhomie between the Governor of Punjab Banwari Lal Purohit and the Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, during the occasion of celebrating Guru Nanak’s Birthday Anniversary on 10th of November at Punjab Raj Bhawan, Chandigarh, does not seem to be transformed in perpetuity.
The cussedness between two constitutional authorities of the State, which is inelegantly palpable, consequently harming the legislative interests of the Punjab.
For example, the Speaker of the Punjab Legislative Assembly, Kultar Singh Sandhwan has adjourned the session of the Punjab Assembly, sine die on 3rd of October 2022, but ironically, it is yet to be prorogued till date.
The motion in this regard, moved by a Minister was passed by the House; meaning thereby that the State Government has no legislative business pending, which require legislative concurrence; hence the Vidhan Sabha was adjourned ‘sine die’.
This kind of procedure is adopted with reference to business or proceedings in the Assembly, that have been adjourned with no future appointed date for the resumption of the sittings of the House.
The standard parliamentary procedure requires that the Vidhan Sabha should be prorogued by the Governor under article174 of the constitution, soon after the House has been adjourned sine die. But the Governor cannot prorogue the House Suo moto.
The constitution mandates the Council of Ministers to pass a resolution recommending to the Governor to prorogue the House, but it’s not done in the case of Punjab , so far, despite the lapse of more than two month .
It is thought-provoking to mention here that as long as the Vidhan Sabha is not prorogued by the Governor, the Minister for Parliamentary affairs could write to the Speaker, any time for the reconvening of the House, indicating date and time by specifying the Government business to be transacted; interestingly, in this kind of situation, no approval of the Governor is required.
But once the House is prorogued by the Governor under Article 174 of the constitution, then the authority of summoning the Legislative Assembly is vested with the Governor, as per the relevant provisions of the constitution.
The routine procedure requires the Chief Secretary of Punjab to place the matter before the Cabinet at its first meeting, once the House stands adjourned sine die. But why the CS Punjab has not complied with the constitutional provisions so far, the peculiar nuance is left between him and the Chief Minister to explain better for the public consumption.
As a matter of fact, the present Catch-22 situation is severely jeopardizing the legislative constitutional rights of the Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), Punjab.
If the current situation is allowed to exist furthermore, the Punjab legislators cannot send their questions, for the next session of the Vidhan Sabha, and if they send their questions now to Vidhan Sabha Secretariat , during the pendency of catch-22 situation, the same would routinely stand lapsed with immediate effect, once the house is prorogued by the Governor and notified in the Government Gazette by virtue of rule 7-A of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
Thus the consequence of unhealthy standoff between the Governor and the Chief Minister, the elected representatives of the State, are unjustifiably deprived of their legitimate legislative role in the absence of procedural approvals to raise issues of development concerning their constituencies, in the form of starred questions, seeking oral reply from the Ministers, on the floor of the Assembly.
Therefore, in the larger interest of the State, both the constitutional authorities, the Governor and the Chief Minister, are expected to shun their false egos and show Statesmen like reflective wisdom and profound magnanimity to resolve issues within the constitutional framework, without compromising the dignity of the constitutional offices they both honorably occupy, in the larger interests of Punjab.
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