Supreme Court’s directive helped rescue democracy

Dear Editor,
This is with reference to your editorial, “SC restores sanctity” (May 19, 2018). The role of a Governor has touched the nadir. The Karnataka Governor had made the apex court work round the clock. His action of giving 15 – day window of opportunity to prove majority to a party that had fallen short of eight MLAs to get the majority mark, had drastically been modified by the Supreme Court. It has rightly been pointed out in your editorial that the Supreme Court’s directive helped rescue democracy from falling into possible quicksand of horse trading.
The Governor’s selection of a pro-tem Speaker who had a tainted record as a Speaker was not in accordance with the best of democratic tradition either. It may be recalled that the Governor’s chosen man had disqualified eleven rebel BJP MLAs and five Independents hours before the then chief minister Yeddyurappa was to face a floor test in October 2010 and that helped Yeddyurappa sail through.
It is highly unfortunate that the attorney general representing the Centre pleaded for secret ballot. The Supreme Court of India must also be congratulated for turning down such an unusual plea that would have helped bypass anti-defection law in this confidence motion.
That the Karnataka Governor’s action could have given enough space for horse trading had been highlighted in a cartoon where it was seen that a man was engrossed in doing a sum of 15 ÷ (112 – 104) in front of Karnataka Raj Bhavan. Must our democracy touch such a low?
There should be an effective legal fence that will stop horse trading and floor crossing. Otherwise, there will be of little value to our voting right in such an environment that has made Transparency International bracket us among the worst offenders in terms of graft in their 2017 report. In this context, it would be pertinent to point out that India has further come down in the global corruption perception index from 79th position in 2016 to 81st in 2017.
Now, it is time either to abolish the institution of Governors or at least limit their powers with clear guidelines to restore the honour of Vidhan Sabhas.
Sujit De,