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Trust vote should have been taken up: Expert

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
March 11, 2005 18:40 IST
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Noted constitutional expert Fali Nariman on Friday said the Jharkhand state assembly should have obeyed the Supreme Court's directive and taken up the confidence vote moved by the Shibu Soren government.

Also see: Jharkhand assembly adjourned till March 15

"Once the Supreme court had directed the state assembly that vote of confidence should be taken up on March 11, then it should have been done," Nariman told in New Delhi.

The Jharkhand assembly was adjourned on Friday till March 15 without taking up the ruling United Progressive Alliance government's motion of confidence for voting.

Through the day, the House was adjourned repeatedly over disagreements on procedures.

Also see: No Central intervention in Jharkhand -- Govt

Uproarious scenes were witnessed with the Soren-led Jharkhand Mukti Morcha members clashing with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance MLAs over the role of protem Speaker Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu in conducting the vote of confidence.

Disagreeing with the argument that the protem speaker did not have the powers to conduct a vote of confidence, Nariman said: "Unless the governor had put some restrictions and the Supreme court had given some directive, as far as I know the Constitution makes no difference between the powers of a protem speaker and an elected speaker. For all practical purposes protem speaker is a speaker," he said.
Nariman on Thursday had said it was not within the Supreme Court's jurisdiction to pass directives to the state assembly as to when to hold a vote of confidence.

Also see: Govt decides against Presidential reference

"I still say that the Supreme Court should not have passed that kind of order, but once it was passed the state assembly should have obeyed the order of the highest court of the land and carried out the vote of confidence," Nariman said.

He refused to comment on news reports that the protem speaker has written to the President to make a presidential reference under Article 143 of the Constitution. "These are constitutional bodies and I have nothing to say about what they are doing," Nariman said.

Does the action of the protem Speaker Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu amounts to contempt of court?

"The matter would come up before the Supreme Court on Monday...let us see what happens there," he added.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi