The Governor, in his letter, expressed that he has received reports from various agencies regarding the presence and usage of illegal drugs. These reports suggest that narcotics are readily available, purportedly even in pharmacies and government-controlled liquor stores.
New Delhi: Tensions between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government in Punjab and the Governor have escalated following the Governor’s caution that he might propose the imposition of President’s rule due to Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s lack of response to official correspondence.
Governor Banwarilal Purohit cautioned Mr. Mann today, indicating his potential recommendation for President’s rule in the state and the initiation of criminal proceedings if his unanswered letters persist.
Article 356 is invoked to place a state under the direct administration of the central government, typically after a report is submitted by the Governor.
In his correspondences, the Punjab Governor raised concerns about drug trafficking in the border state and inquired about the actions taken by Mr. Mann’s administration.
The Governor’s letter highlighted that he has been informed by various agencies about the prevalence and consumption of narcotics. It is alleged that these substances are even accessible in pharmacies and government-controlled liquor stores.
The Governor cited a recent report from the parliamentary standing committee, which stated that one out of every five individuals in Punjab is addicted to drugs.
In his most recent communication to Mann, Governor Purohit indicated his dissatisfaction with the absence of replies to his previous letters. He cautioned Mann that he might forward a report to the President regarding the “failure of the constitutional mechanism.” Purohit advised Mann to take action prior to his potential use of Article 356 of the Constitution and section 124 of the Indian Penal Code.
Article 356 is invoked to subject a state to the direct control of the central government, usually after a report is submitted by the Governor. Section 124 of the IPC pertains to assaulting or wrongfully restraining the President or a governor in the exercise of their legal powers.
The Governor’s letter stated, “Before I make a final decision regarding submitting a report to the President of India under Article 356, citing the breakdown of the constitutional mechanism, and before considering initiating criminal proceedings under section 124 of the IPC, I request you to provide me with the requested information from my aforementioned letters, as well as the measures taken by you to address the issue of drug-related problems in the State. Failure to comply will leave me with no choice but to take action in accordance with the law and the Constitution.”
In response to the Governor’s warning, AAP leader Malvinder Singh Kang commented that the Governor should maintain a sense of decorum.
“The Indian Constitution empowers elected individuals… The Governor’s threats and warnings, along with the potential imposition of President’s rule, reflect the BJP’s agenda,” stated Mr. Kang.
“I would like to inform the Governor that if they intend to impose President’s rule, they should consider doing so in Manipur or Haryana. The Punjab government operates within the bounds of the constitutional framework. The Governor appears to have a single agenda—to further the BJP’s interests of disrupting non-BJP State governments,” alleged the AAP leader.
Other states controlled by opposition parties, such as West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, have also accused the Governor of interfering in the functioning of state governments.