Rajasthan HC orders no state function during Vasundhara Raje’s ‘Gaurav Yatra’
The division bench order,headed by the Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog will thus prohibit the state government to spend its fund in facilitating the yatra
The Gaurav Yatra of the Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has run into rough weather. Congress has been pointing fingers at the the Gaurav Yatra for using government funds and the Rajasthan High Court concurred. The HC issued orders that no government function could be organised concurrently on the sidelines with the yatra in the state which goes for poll in November this year. The court, in an order, on the PIL filed by an advocate Vibhuti Sharma and Sawai Singh held that on the day of the yatra, no government function could be organised and no public function organised by the state government for which the finances of the state are used could be undertaken.
The division bench order, headed by the Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog will thus prohibit the state government to spend its fund in facilitating the yatra. The yatra, a 58-day political tour undertaken by the Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje received a rude jolt as a result if this order. The PIL alleged misuse of public money for a political objective by the ruling party. The court verdict came as the petitioner stressed that the yatra is being undertaken under the garb of state function highlighting the achievement of the BJP government in an election year.
The court observed the thin dividing line between a political function and a state-sponsored function. The court in its order observed:
“So intermingled are the state-sponsored and state-financed programmes with the Gaurav Yatra, which is a political event that it would be impossible to segregate one from the other. To a common man, if during the Gaurav Yatra, which is a political event, the leader of the political party who happens to be the Chief Minister, inaugurates public functions, the understanding would be the glorification of the political party and not the achievement of the government”.
The High Court’s order made it clear that in the garb of the official functions, the BJP government was spending money on political function. This it’s the duty of the BJP to deposit the amount spent by the state government on the yatra in the state government’s treasury
The High Court while pursuing the hearing in the petition found that the state government had issued orders directing the public works department (PWD) to provide tents, barricading, road, water supply and power for the yatra. During the hearing the High Court made the BJP as a party and asked it to submit the details incurred by the party in the yatra. The BJP in reply to the party had given a list of the expenditure of Rs one crore incurred by the party and had clarified that the state government was incurring expenditure on the state government’s function, while the BJP spent funds for political events that ran concurrently.
“The High Court’s order made it clear that in the garb of the official functions, the BJP government was spending money on political function. This it’s the duty of the BJP to deposit the amount spent by the state government on the yatra in the state government’s treasury,” said PCC President Sachin Pilot.
“The Congress has raised the issue of the involvement of the state government right from the day when the yatra was launched by the BJP president Amit Shah on August 4. The High Court order has put to a stop to the misuse of the state government funds,” pointed out Pilot.
The state government is unlikely to appeal against this order of the High Court. The yatra will now be undertaken without the fanfare of the state government’s involvement. This yatra after the order of the High Court has become a political event and no official functions could be organised as a side show. The remaining yatra will surely be undertaken, but it would be devoid of any colours and the state government officials and its machinery could not be misused in the name of official function. The BJP will have to dole out its funds for staging the yatra shows.