Saturday, September 05, 2009

There is nothing like Acting CM or PM

Our Constitution says, at any point of the time, the state should be under the rule of either the Chief Minister or the President. The country should always have a Prime Minister at any point of the time. Constitution provides only Acting President and does not mention anything for interim for any other post. There is nothing like Acting Chief Minister or Acting Prime Minister. When people call Guljarilal Nanda as care taker (or acting) Prime Minsiter, and Rosaiah as care taker Chief Minister, the care taker is only for the Political Party and not for the Constitution/state/country. As of today, Rosaiah is the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. He is not an interim Chief Minister or care taker Chief Minister. He has all the powers of a C.M.

This is the second time in this year to have a state/country without a leader (in a working state) for some time. First one was, when Manmohan Singh got operated and took rest. At that time, he took rest and was not actually working as the Prime Minister. If that is the case, Constitution clearly says that, some body should take oath as Prime Minister and handle the country. Once the person is fit enough to take the charge, he can again take oath to become Prime Minister.

I am not sure whether the constitution is clear on what happened on September 2nd. (Dr.YSR, CM of A.P., missed on September 2nd at 9.45 AM, and on September 3rd, at 11 AM, Center declared that he was dead) If CM misses, and till he/she is found, who would be the in-charge of the state? If there is anything serious and if the government has to take an action, who should take the responsibility and take it?

Central Government declared that he died at 11 AM on September 3rd. But, Rosaiah had taken oath only at 4.34 PM. Ideally, he should have taken oath immediately after the declaration of the death of the C.M. From September 2nd 9:45 AM till September 3rd 4:34 PM, there was no Chief Minister for Andhra Pradesh. Had there been an emergency crisis which involves multiple ministries, who would have taken the ownership/responsibility and fixed the problem?

U.S. constitution has a very big line of succession. It defines who may become or act as President of the United States upon the incapacity, death, resignation, or removal from office (by impeachment and subsequent conviction) of a sitting president or a president-elect. The list is

  1. Vice President
  2. Speaker of the House of Representatives
  3. President pro tempore of the Senate
  4. Secretary of State
  5. Secretary of the Treasury
  6. Secretary of Defense
  7. Attorney General
  8. Secretary of the Interior
  9. Secretary of Agriculture
  10. Secretary of Commerce
  11. Secretary of Labor
  12. Secretary of Health and Human Services
  13. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  14. Secretary of Transportation
  15. Secretary of Energy
  16. Secretary of Education
  17. Secretary of Veterans Affairs
  18. Secretary of Homeland Security

Our Indian Constitution does not have this line of succession for Prime Minister or Chief Minister. It says, one should be elected immediately after the incapacity, death, resignation or removal. But, the present Congress government at center as well as A.P. state does not bother about it. If we had the same provision in our constitution, it would have been better. We should make Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Chief Minister as mandatory. Even if we do not create line of succession, we should have atleast some thing similar to that, so that somebody would officially take care of the state, till the next leader gets elected. I would prefer the following order (for take care only).

  1. Deputy Prime/Chief Minister
  2. Finance Minister
  3. Home Minister
  4. Speaker
  5. President/Governor

The advantage of this will not be known till many bad things happen at the same time. Having some thing like this, would help in those situations.

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