Rajya Sabha MP and Senior Advocate Vivek Tankha has written a letter to the President Ram Nath Kovind regarding the “unconstitutional” governance of Madhya Pradesh without a Cabinet at a time when the pandemic is leading to constant daily deaths in the State.
Mr. Tankha highlights the fact that a one-man government is functioning in Madhya Pradesh, without a Cabinet and “in today’s situation, the State doesn’t have the benefit of an accountable Cabinet, much less a Health Minister. Madhya Pradesh deserves to be governed by a Cabinet”.
“It is unconstitutional as there is only chief minister who is operating without a council of ministers during this exigent time of the coronavirus disease,” Mr Tankha said in his letter to Kovind on Saturday.
Article 163 of the Constitution of India mandates that a Council of Ministers along with the Chief Minister is required to aid and advise the Governor. Additionally, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh was sworn amidst lockdown in Bhopal on March 23rd, without a Cabinet.
“A government of a sole CM i.e. one-man government without a Cabinet is an unthinkable constitutional anathema.
The letter goes on to underscore the dire situation in the State in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Indore being declared as a hotspot.
Additionally, Bhopal is suffering from the administrative collapse of the Health department with 45 plus IAS and other officials having tested positive.
If Mr Chouhan is not in a position to constitute his council of ministers, “then a case of breakdown of constitutional machinery would be self-evident in the state, warranting the union to consider the imposition of President’s Rule in the state,” he said.
“This is a humble appeal by a voter, a citizen of Madhya Pradesh, a responsible lawyer and a Member of Parliament Rajya Sabha to the highest constitutional authority and the ultimate protector of citizens’ rights i.e. President of India to safeguard the rights, privileges and lives of 7.5 crore people of Madhya Pradesh”.
He also accused Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon of maintaining an “enigmatic silence despite this constitutional outrage”.
The Government under BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan took oath on March 23, following the fall of Kamal Nath Government due to loss of majority in house caused by resignations by 22 Congress MLAs. These political developments happened after the Jyotiradithya Scindia left Congress to join BJP.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown in the entire country, he has been unable to constitute his council of ministers.
Madhya Pradesh has 435 reported COVID19 cases till date, with 176 cases reported on Saturday itself.