21 MPs from opposition parties, 36 ex-IAS officers urge PM not to ruin country's federal structure
KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress MP Jawhar Sircar on Friday released a joint statement by 21 MPs from 11 Opposition parties and 38 retired IAS officers on social media, requesting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not ruin the country's federal structure by seizing control over states. They also urged IAS officers to stop instigating the Governors in Opposition-ruled states for sabotaging such states.
In his letter, Sircar mentioned that in the past, MPs, political parties, civil society and conscientious media persons had articulated their demands separately and submitted several memorandums. The MPs and the retired officers had, in their own ways, underlined the necessity to ensure proper federal functioning. But, now they issued a joint statement to express their collective solidarity against the consistent attacks on federal policy. The Centre's constant encroachments in the state's areas must halt, they demanded while citing two recent examples of such incidents. They cited an example of Centre's 'hegemonic thrust' as it proposed to change the All India Service Cadre Rules. "These amendments are designed to subjugate states and collectively oppose Centre's move to arrogate unto itself total control over the IAS through central postings and transfers. We caution the Centre against any unilateral move and make it clear that the states shall not agree to this unconstitutional usurpation of power, even if it is pushed through despite valid opposition from chief ministers and states," the statement mentioned.
"The second issue relates to the relentless interference by Governors in the functioning of the elected governments in Opposition-ruled States. Their constant needling is a gross misuse of their limited constitutional power under Article 167 without taking into cognizance other limiting Articles like 163 and Article 169. The unbecoming conduct of the Governors of West Bengal, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu constitute a direct attack on the federal structure of the constitution. In West Bengal for instance the Governor resorts to social media several times a day to demean and criticize the legally elected government and to heckle the chief minister, ministers and senior civil servants. This reveals his poor taste and is tantamount to sabotaging the state government in the exercise of their legitimate powers and hounding officials in public for carrying out their duties," the statement read further.
They claimed that the Governors constantly hold back their assent to the Bills that had been duly approved by state Assemblies or without critical appointments and some resort to other deliberate acts to undercut state governments. They condemned the reprehensible conduct of these Governors appointed by the Centre as 'undemocratic and anti-federal.' They urged the PM to take note of this and refrain from actions that 'militate against democracy and federal governance' as they are grossly unconstitutional and can also lead to undesirable crises.