Cong files petition in High Court

sandesh prabhudesai, panaji | 11 March 2002 14:03 IST

The war on the demand of imposing President's rule is heating up in Goa with the opposition Congress rushing to the court while the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party bent upon issuing ordinance for appropriation without presenting the annual budget.

The state is presently gripped with a debate on constitutional pros and cons since the ruling BJP went ahead with dissolution of the 32-month old Assembly, in order to avert a split in the ruling party for yet another toppling, on the eve of budget session.

On the other hand, all the political parties have also pulled up its sleeves for fresh Assembly polls, which may be held during summer vacation, before monsoons arrive here in the first week of June.

The petition, filed by former opposition leader Luizinho Faleiro, basically asks for interim relief to restrain the government on taking any policy decision as if the election code of conduct is applicable and prohibit them from making any kind of expenditure, except the routine matters.

While suggesting that President's rule is the only solution to put an end to all the controversies, the petition has also alleged that Governor Mohammed Fazal has grossly abused his constitutional powers by dissolving the House.

The petitioner also fears further violation of constitutional powers by the governor as chief minister Manohar Parrikar has publicly stated that the governor will issue an ordinance for appropriation, wherein money will be transferred from consolidated fund to the contingency fund, based on the advise of the cabinet.

Parrikar claims that the concerned central bureaucrats as well as union minister Pramod Mahajan has given him a green signal to lift funds from contingency for routine expenditure like salaries etc since such a fund is meant for 'unforeseen circumstances'.

The legal experts however argue that contingency fund is meant only for 'unforeseen expenditure' (not circumstances) and the governor has no powers, even under Article 213, to issue an ordinance regarding money matters of appropriation of funds when the Assembly also does not exist.

One of the experts also quotes Subhash Kashyap, former secretary general of Lok Sabha for 27 years, stating that 'an ordinance for appropriation out of the consolidated fund of any moneys is invalid if relative demand for grants have not been placed, considered and assented to by the House.'

The issue had cropped up since the BJP had gone ahead with dissolution under Art 174 (2) b, which does not provide for passing of the budget through Parliament, unlike Art 356. Experts here still opine that the governor is not authorised to pass any ordinance regarding fund appropriation, especially when the Assembly is dissolved.

Meanwhile, after staging a dharna in front of the Raj Bhavan soon after dissolution, the opposition Congress today also organised an impressive morcha in the capital city, demanding President's rule and recall of the governor. Congress observer Ramesh Chennithala was personally down in Goa to plan out strategies.

Chief minister Parrikar however plans to go ahead with his plans to resolve in the cabinet next week, advising the governor to issue the ordinance to lift money from the contingency fund for routine foreseen expenditure, for the period of four months. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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