Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dr.JP’s Letter to Hon’ble Governor of Andhra Pradesh

3rd March, 2011

Hon’ble Rajyapal Shri ESL Narasimhan,
The Governor of Andhra Pradesh,
Raj Bhavan,

Esteemed Rajyapal Sri Narasimhan ji,

Sub: Filling of vacancies to the nominated seats AP Legislative Council – need to protect the dignity of the Council – appeal – reg.

As you are aware, vacancies to the nominated seats in the AP Legislative Council are due to be filled shortly.

These vacancies arise in the wider context established by the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment, delivered earlier today, addressing the critical issue of appointment of individuals to high offices. Even as this judgment is about the appointment of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC; in Centre for PIL vs. Union of India, WP(C) 255/2010), it rightly emphasizes the fundamental need to protect the integrity of Constitutional bodies, through nomination/appointment of candidates exhibiting the highest standards of expertise, integrity and suitability.

Article 171(5) specifies that the members of Legislative Council to be nominated by the Governor shall consist of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in areas of literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service. Clearly, the nominations are intended to bring expertise, sobriety, wisdom and credibility to the Upper House, and to add substance and quality to the deliberations.

However, parties in power have often tended to use the nomination process as a mechanism to rehabilitate party members and leaders who could not be allocated Assembly seats or accommodated in other forums. Recently, major functionaries in the ruling party and the State Government have publicly and repeatedly stated their intent to nominate select individuals – based on almost entirely partisan political grounds, to the upcoming vacancies to the nominated seats of the AP Legislative Council. While past party affiliation cannot be a disqualification for nomination, party loyalties evaluated in the matrix of partisan political calculus cannot be the sole or substantive qualification either.

This treatment of Upper House nominations as the private affair of political parties is a travesty of the letter and spirit of the Constitution. Such an approach to nominated seats undermines the high office and Constitutional role of the Governor as Head of the State.

Lok Satta Party therefore urges you to play your Constitutional role and ensure that only experts with known credibility, integrity, special knowledge and practical expertise in literature, science, art, cooperative movement and social service are nominated to the Legislative Council. We are aware that ordinarily, you are bound by the advice of the Council of Ministers in nominating these members. Simultaneously, it is your Constitutional prerogative and duty to advise the Government suitably, and to insist on recommendation of names of worthy experts for such nominations.

With your long experience in public life and your oath of allegiance to the Constitution, we are sure you will uphold the highest democratic traditions in respect of the nomination of members to the Legislative Council, and enrich the quality of public discourse in the Upper House.


Jayaprakash Narayan

(President, Lok Satta Party)

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