The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Buta, Lahoti pull opposite ways

Sept. 3: Governor Buta Singh thinks nobody can question his authority, but the country’s top judge believes no wings are big enough not to clip.

The unrelated assertions came on a day both spoke their minds ' one in Patna on the Bihar imbroglio and the other in Bhopal at a seminar.

Singh’s tough talk was triggered by accusations that the reports he sent to the Centre recommending dissolution of the Bihar Assembly were “fictitious”.

The governor said he had acted according to the Constitution. “No one has a right to comment on it (his action and the reports),” he told a news conference in Patna.

“Nobody can question my authority and contents of the reports which I had sent to the Centre on the political developments in Bihar as these were based on facts and were in accordance with constitutional propriety.”

Asked if by “nobody” he also meant the judiciary, he said “nobody means nobody”.

In Bhopal, Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti’s comment came at a seminar on speedy and affordable justice and cooperation between the judiciary and the executive.

“All three organs ' executive, legislature and judiciary ' should work in accordance with constitutional provisions and if anyone acts beyond its jurisdiction, the judiciary can clip its wings,” Lahoti said. The three organs, he added, should strengthen each other for the welfare of society.

Singh’s assertion came after the National Democratic Alliance demanded his immediate recall and threatened a defamation suit for giving “fictitious” reports to the President that led to the May 23 dissolution.

Earlier, Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar alleged that the governor had been “spying” on the NDA. Singh had noted in his reports that his “contacts” in the NDA informed him that 16-17 of the rebel Lok Janshakti Party MLAs had been won over by the NDA and efforts were on to bring over more.

“It is clear that the governor, despite holding a constitutional post, was spying on legislators. This is immoral and he should be immediately removed'.” Nitish said.

Nagmani, who joined Nitish after deserting LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, said he would file a defamation suit against Singh for accusing them of being part of a horse-trading exercise when there was none.

BJP spokesperson Kiran Ghai said the governor has been “exposed” and the party’s stand that he was acting on the directions of Laloo Prasad Yadav “vindicated”.

In Bhopal, Lahoti also referred to the delay in delivering justice and said an independent agency should be formed to resolve disputes through mediation to reduce the burden on courts.

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