Bangalore bureau

Judgment in Bommai case a landmark

BANGALORE: S.R. Bommai, former Karnataka Chief Minister and Union Minister for Human Resource Development in the National Front governments headed by H.D. Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujral, passed away in Bangalore on Wednesday after keeping indifferent health for several years. He was 84.

Mr. Bommai leaves behind two sons and two daughters. One of his sons, Basavaraj Bommai, is a member of the Karnataka Legislative Council.

Ironically, his death has come about at a time when the famous judgment of the Supreme Court in the S.R. Bommai vs. Union of India case relating to imposition of President’s Rule has formed the basis for the proclamation of President’s Rule and keeping the Legislative Assembly in Karnataka. The judgment has come into play following the resignation of H.D. Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister.

Mr. Bommai took charge as Chief Minister of the State on August 13, 1988 and his government was dismissed by the then Governor, P. Venkatasubbaiah, on April 21, 1989. The dismissal was on grounds that the Bommai government had lost majority following large-scale defections engineered by several Janata Party leaders of the day. Mr. Bommai had sought some time from the Governor to prove his majority on the floor of the Legislature and he was denied this.

A four-member team of Janata Party leaders — S.R. Bommai, Ramakrishna Hegde, J.H. Patel and the former Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda — was instrumental in the Janata Party forming a government in the State for the first time in the State in 1983. Mr. Bommai was given the weighty portfolio of Industries in the Ramakrishna Hegde government. After Ramakrishna Hegde quit on moral grounds, Mr. Bommai took charge and could not face the challenge posed by Mr. Gowda.

Alienation, realignment

Mr. Bommai, who fell out with Mr. Gowda, thereafter aligned with him again. During the 1999 Janata Dal split, Mr. Bommai and Mr. Gowda together floated the Janata Dal (Secular). They again broke up resulting in Mr. Bommai floating the All-India Progressive Janata Dal .

The funeral is scheduled to take place in his native village, family sources said.

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