Amid the ongoing political crisis in Rajasthan, Governor Kalraj Mishra on Monday allowed the state government to convene a special assembly session but with conditions. He said that the session should be called on 21 days notice so that MLAs during corona times may not face problems coming to Jaipur and all of them can get equal rights and equal opportunity under Article 14 of the Constitution.
The Governor also mentioned in his letter that Raj Bhavan had no intention of not calling the assembly session but was concerned on how social distancing can be followed during the session.
The Congress government had sought approval from the Governor to call the special assembly session from July 31.
Replying to the proposal, the Governor, in his letter, questioned the Congress government asking, “Is there any arrangement in which more than 1,000 officers and employees, besides 200 MLAs, are not at risk of corona infection? If someone is infected, how will it be prevented?
It should also be clarified that if the assembly session is called, how will social distancing be maintained?, the Governor asked.
The Governor mentioned quoting media reports that the state government wants a motion of confidence. He said, “If, under any circumstances, action is taken to obtain a vote of confidence, then it should be done in the presence of the Principal Secretary of the Parliamentary Affairs Department and a video recording should be done. It should also be telecast live,” he said.
The point wise instructions of the Governor are:
1. Assembly session should be called after giving 21 days notice.
2. The process of obtaining the trust vote should be completed in the presence of Principal Secretary of the Parliamentary Affairs Department.
3. Video recording of the entire process of obtaining the trust vote should also be done.
4. The process of obtaining a vote of confidence in the assembly should be completed by pressing the yes or no button.
5. The Supreme Court has given decisions in various cases which should also be taken care of during the motion of no confidence in the assembly.
6. In view of the risk of coronavirus infection, it should also be ensured that the rules of social distancing are followed in the assembly.
7. During the assembly session, the presence of more than 1,000 employees and more than 200 members should be taken care of, so that the risk of corona infection spread is minimised.
The letter also mentions about the state government proposal which said that “the Governor is bound to accept the advice of the Cabinet as per Article 174 of the Constitution and the Governor cannot take any decision at his own discretion quoting the SC judgment in “Nabam Rabia and Bamang Felix vs Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Arunachal Pradesh (2016)” para 162 of 8 ACC 1.
The Governor’s letter said legal opinion was taken by the Governor in this regard which revealed that Article 174 (1) of the Constitution will work in normal circumstances, according to the advice of the Cabinet. But if the circumstances are specific, in such a situation, the Governor will ensure that the Assembly session should be convened in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution and the process should be adopted to give all the honourable members of the assembly the proper time and proper security.
He said, “As am aware that in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, there is no arrangement of social distancing for 200 honourable MLAs and more than 1000 officers/employees simultaneously, it is necessary to follow the Disaster Management Act and Government of India guidelines. The absolute meaning of Article 174 of the Constitution is mentioned in the order of the Cabinet. It is the constitutional obligation of the Governor to ensure that 1,200 lives are not endangered by calling the assembly session without any special contingency in such adverse circumstances.”