Kolkata: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar Saturday stuck to his stand that a cabinet recommendation is required for him to consider the change in the timing of the assembly session from 2 am to 2 pm on March 7.
The recommendation will be promptly addressed and no one else can be a representative of the cabinet, a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan said.
Chief Secretary H K Dwivedi had written to the governor, who convenes an Assembly session, on February 24 stating that the state cabinet’s recommendation letter mentioning 2 am as the time for summoning the assembly was an inadvertent typographical error .
He had requested that the time of summoning of the House be changed to 2 pm on the same day.
Ruling out the request, the statement said “Cabinet decision is essential for the Governor to consider change of timing of the assembly session from presently 2 AM to 2 PM on March 07. The issue will be addressed once there is such recommendation of the cabinet.
“In the matter of summoning of West Bengal Assembly the Governor acts only on the recommendation of the State Cabinet and no other authority. In such matters none can be ‘face’ or ‘representative’ of the Cabinet,” the statement signed by Dhankhar’s OSD said.
Quoting Article 163 of the Constitution, it said that the council of ministers with the Chief Minister as the head aids and advises the Governor.
“This comes into play when Governor is required to summon the assembly under article 174(1) of the Constitution. A recommendation of the Cabinet is liable to be varied or changed only by the Cabinet and no other authority. In view of this settled view, the Governor declined to entertain a request from Chief Secretary to change the assembly summoning time, and thereby vary the cabinet decision at his instance,” it said.
Acceding to the chief secretary’s request would have been gross violation of Constitution, the statement said.
“As a matter of fact, Chief Secretary, administrative head, ought to have been mindful of law. For change in the time of assembly session from 2AM to 2PM on March 7, the Cabinet is required to send such recommendation and recall its earlier decision. Issue will be addressed with promptitude once there is such recommendation of the cabinet,” it said.
The Raj Bhavan statement said that highest priority is accorded by the governor towards observance of constitutional prescriptions and it is expected that the government does so too.
Referring to the chain of events with regard to summoning of assembly since February 17, the statement said “an avoidable embarrassment” was caused on all sides when initially the chief minister sought the summoning of the assembly in the absence of any cabinet decision on it.
It had to be returned as it was not in consonance with the constitutional provisions.
“Further embarrassment has been occasioned by obvious lack of attention in arriving at the cabinet decision seeking session at 2.00 AM on March 07. Governor overlooked flawed procedure, non-observance of Rules of Business under article 166(3) of the Constitution and dereliction of duty by Chief Secretary, also Secretary to Cabinet, in the process of February 21 cabinet decision,” it said.
The chief secretary has been “indicated” that there must be scrupulous observance of Rules of Business and any disregard of the same will not be “countenanced,” the sternly worded statement said.
Veteran TMC MP Sougata Roy when contacted said “I will not comment on this issue.”
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