Guv issues ordinance for contingency

sandesh prabhudesai | 30 March 2002 16:54 IST

At last, amidst controversy, Governor Mohammed Fazal issued an ordinance, increasing limit of the contingency fund by over hundred folds.

To run the state of affairs of Goa administration in the new financial year till 15 June without the annual budget being presented, the ordinance makes provision of Rs 690 crore in the contingency fund, increasing its normal limit of mere Rs 10 crore.

The piquant situation has arisen as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party suddenly went for the dissolution of the state Assembly on 27 February, on the eve of the budget session, under provisions of Article 174 (2) b, while allowing the 14-member cabinet to continue in power.

Legal experts, at this stage, felt that the governor will have no other option than imposing the President's rule under Article 356. This is the only provision that can make funds available for the state administration for its routine expenditure in the new financial year, by presenting and passing the budget by the Parliament.

"These are all half-baked and ignorant constitutional experts. They do not know what constitution provides for", stated chief minister Manohar Parrikar, while going ahead with a cabinet decision, recommending to the governor to issue the ordinance to increase the limit of the contingency fund.

While issuing this ordinance now, the governor has inserted new section 2A in the Goa Contingency Fund Act 1988. It states that all the government revenue, state-raised loans by the issue of treasury bills, loans or ways and means advances and all moneys received by the government will be paid into the contingency fund, till 15 June and up to the limit of Rs 690 crore.

"This is totally unconstitutional, since the governor has amended the constitution through an ordinance", states Adv Cleofato Almeida Coutinho. According to him, neither public revenue can go into any other account than the consolidated fund nor the governor is authorised to amend the constitutional provisions.

Based on similar arguments, Dr Kashinath Jalmi, former minister and general secretary of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, is now filing a petition in the high court here, challenging the ordinance.

Parrikar however fully justifies the act, claiming that due care is being taken by consulting even legal experts at the central level, before carrying out the exercise. Though he also claims that there are precedents in the past to tackle the issue in such a manner, legal experts claim that it is the first time such kind of wrong step is being taken.


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