J&K Assembly dissolved: Constitutional experts divided over Governor Malik’s move

SRINAGAR: In a dramatic development, the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was dissolved on Wednesday night after three mainstream parties came together to stake claim to form a government that was countered by Peoples Conference leader Sajad Lone with the BJP’s backing.

According to The Indian Express reports, constitutional experts are divided on the issue.

Former secretary-general of the Lok Sabha Subhash Kashyap said: “This (dissolution) is well within his jurisdiction if he is convinced that it is not possible to form a stable government. The Constitution gives him the power to dissolve the assembly and order fresh elections. After all, he has waited for several months and now there is an attempt to cobble together a government through horse-trading.”

When The Indian Express asked if the Governor’s action could be challenged, Kashyap told: “Well, anybody can go to the court and it is for the court to take a view. However, I don’t think that the Governor can be faulted in this instance. Politics apart, the governor has not done anything which can be called unconstituional.”

However, another former secretary-general of the Lok Sabha P D T Achary felt that “the dissolution of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly by the Governor is clearly aimed at thwarting the formation of a government in the state.”

He said: “I am not aware of full facts of the matter, but based on the information which is forthcoming at the moment, it is clear that the Governor’s action came in the midst of the efforts by the rival-side to prop up a coalition government.” The BJP was trying to put together another combination to form a government.

“The Governor’s rule”, Achary pointed out, “is a temporary arrangement till a popular government is installed”. “The Governor ought to have explored this possibility. I don’t know why didn’t the governor do it?”

As for a court intervention, Achary said, “I am not aware of the grounds cited by the Governor for his action, but it is obviously reflective of his considered view that there is no possibility of a popular government being formed in the state now or later.”

The developments came five months after the BJP pulled out of the Mehbooba Mufti government leading to the fall of the PDP-BJP collation that lasted for over two years.

The political developments also assume significance in view of the fact that the tenure of Governor’s rule was set to end next month, which would have been followed by the President’s rule if no government was formed.

Governor Satya Pal Malik had earlier this month said that even if the state was placed under President’s rule next month, the state Assembly would not be dissolved.