In a major escalation of the ongoing tussle between Punjab Governor and the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Banwarilal Purohit sent a strongly-worded letter to the CM, warning him that he could recommend President’s rule in the state and also initiate criminal proceedings if his letters are not answered.
In his latest communication to Mann, Governor Purohit reiterated that he was not getting any reply from him on his previous letters, and warned him that he could send a report to the President on “failure of constitutional mechanism.” Purohit advised Mann to act before he takes this “final decision” under Article 356 of the Constitution, and section 124 of the Indian Penal Code.
A state is brought under direct rule of the Centre with the invocation of Article 356, usually after a report is sent by the Governor. The IPC section relates to assaulting or wrongfully restraining the President or a governor from exercising their lawful powers.
"Before I am going to take final decision regarding sending a report to the President of India under Article 356 about the failure of the constitutional mechanism and take a decision about initiating criminal proceedings under section 124 of the IPC, I ask you to send me the requisite information sought for under my letters referred to above, as also in the matter of the steps taken by you concerning the problem of drugs in the State, failing which I would have no choice but to take action according to law and the Constitution,” the governor wrote.
Referring to his earlier letter on August 1, Governor Purohit said, “You have still not given the information sought by me. It appears that you are deliberately refusing to give the information asked for by me. I regret to note here that in spite of the clear provisions of Article 167 of the Constitution of India which makes it mandatory for the chief minister to furnish all such information relating to the administration of affairs of the state as the Governor may call for, you have failed to supply the information sought by me.”
This is not the first time the two leaders have locked horns. In the past few months, the two have locked horns over several issues and the spats in the form of exchange of letters, tweets, bytes in the media and the use of unparliamentary language have all happened in the public domain. Both have been accusing each other of “not fulfilling constitutional duties”.