How to write an ‘Editorial’!

via H Balakrishnan published on October 12, 2010

Dear Sir,

Reference your edit – ” Pyrrhic victory for Yeddyurappa “ – (TNIE – 12 Oct).

You wrote : ” It is clear from the ‘voice vote’ that his government does not enjoy majority support. While the House witnessed a lot of shameful incidents, the worst performance was that of the Speaker K G Bopaiah, who threw to the winds the neutrality expected of his high constitutional post. He acted like a partisan and his conduct is unlikely to stand judicial scrutiny. The decision to disqualify 11 BJP MLAs and five Independents under the anti-defection law is a flagrant violation of the same law. Under this law, a legislator invites disqualification only if he resigns from the party on whose ticket he got elected or votes in defiance of the party whip “.

I am no student of Law or the Constitution. However, your pejorative language set me on a  ‘ google search ‘, simply because, your words, regrettably, did not ring true. And, lo and behold !! Jackpot !! All proving your contentions, WRONG !!

Your  ‘expresbuzz ‘, carried a report, under ‘ Karnataka ‘, and entitled : ” What experts say “.  The Chennai print edition does not carry the same !! Be that as it may, here is the ‘expert
speak’ :

(a) – According to Justice Rama Jois, former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Courts : ” There is no power vested in the Governor to ask the Speaker to maintain status quo on the house strength. Therefore, his directive is non-est and ab-initio void. It is also in plain violation of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Rajendra Singh Rana and Others Vs Swami Prasad Maurya and Ors. In this case, the Supreme Court has clearly held that the 13 MLAs of BSP who gave notice (on 27-8-2003) to the Governor requesting him to call the opposition party leader to form the government, itself would amount to their voluntarily giving up the membership of their original political party within the meaning of para 2 of 10th Schedule of the Constitution. The 13 members of BSP who met the Governor were disqualified in terms of Article 191(2) of the Constitution.

In view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court which is binding on all including the Governor, the 19 legislators who gave letter withdrawing their support to Chief Minister
BS Yeddyurappa’s government stand disqualified with effect from that date itself. Therefore, even on 6-10-2010 all the signatories except those who have denied their signature, if any, ceased to be members of Karnataka Legislative Assembly “.

(b) – According to [Dr.] Subash Kashyap, leading Constitutional expert and former Secretary-General, Lok Sabha : ” Governor has no power to intervene in the proceedings of a legislature. He can send messages to the Speaker or address the legislature. He can also recommend President’s Rule if he feels the government is not functioning in accordance with the constitution. The Anti-Defection Act comes into play if a legislator elected from a particular party abstains from voting in the legislature; resigns voluntarily or violates party whip or indulges in anti-party activities. The behavior of the legislators, including his / her association with other parties, can be also taken into consideration by the Speaker when issuing notices as per Supreme Court ruling in this connection”.


The Economic Times of 12 Oct, carried a report entitled – “ Speaker is right, say Subhash Kashyap and Dhawan “. The statement of Dr.Subhash Kashyap is more or less as the same as the  ‘ expressbuzz ‘ report.

Here is the statement of Senior Counsel of the Supreme Court, Rajeev Dhawan : ” The fact that governments are toppled because MPs and MLAs receive money is an affront to constitutional democracy. However, it was no business of the governor to either put status quo on affairs of confidence motion or to even threaten to impose President’s rule. Even a suggestion of imposition of President’s rule is subversion of Constitution. Karnataka governor H R Bhardwaj should know better than to flex his muscle like this. Disqualification has to take place before confidence vote. If, however, vote itself was done under circumstance of physical subversion it is for the Speaker to take the trust vote again. But it is not for the governor to impose President’s rule”.


There is an interesting Article in the ‘ India Law Journal ‘ entitled : ” Defect-Shun : Understanding Schedule X to the Constitution of India “  by Jenna Narayan. It is written
in simple and understandable English – and – devoid of legalese & emotion !! She wrote : ” At the first instance, the phrase ‘voluntarily giving up of seat’ sounds pretty straightforward. It is giving up of the seat in the House by one’s own will. However, the Courts have given certain pointers on its interpretation. In Ravi Naik v Union of India , the Supreme Court says,  “The words ‘voluntarily given up his membership’ are not synonymous with ‘resignation’ and have a wider connotation. A person may voluntarily give up his membership of a political party even though he has not rendered his resignation from the membership of that party. Even in the absence of a formal resignation from membership an inference can be drawn from the conduct of a member that he has voluntarily given up his membership of the political party to which he belongs”.

Again. ” Referring to these words, in the case of Rajendra Singh Rana v Swami Prasad Maurya and Others the Supreme Court held that the act of giving a letter requesting the Governor to call upon the leader of the other side to form a Government, itself would amount to an act of voluntarily giving up the membership of the party on whose ticket the said members had got elected. In this case, in the 2002 Assembly elections in the State of Uttar Pradesh, a coalition government was formed since none of the parties secured a majority. In the middle of 2003, a unanimous decision was taken by the Cabinet to dissolve the Assembly. After the Cabinet’s decision and before the resignation of the leader of the coalition Government (then, Mrs. Mayawati, belonging to the Bahujan Samaj Party [BSP]), thirteen members from the BSP met the Governor and requested him to invite the leader of the opposite party (then, the Samajwadi Party [SP]) to form the Government. It was in this context that the Court held the above”.

You have gone hammer & tongs at the action of the Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.  Wrong, once again Sir !!

Again from Jenna Narayan’s Article above : ” An interesting question that the Court was called upon to decide with regard to this provision was whether the proceeding before the Speaker in the nature of a judicial one, and whether the office of a Speaker in this regard could be termed as a Tribunal? Answering both the questions in the affirmative the court said, “It is therefore inappropriate to claim that the determinative jurisdiction of the Speaker of the Chairman in the tenth Schedule is not a judicial power and is within the non-justiciable legislative area.”

Further. ” Speaking about how the Speaker’s authority could be a Tribunal, the Court elaborated thus, “Where there is a lis -an affirmation by one party and denial by another-and the dispute necessarily involves a decision on the rights and obligations of the parties to it and the authority is called upon to decide it, there is an exercise of judicial power. That authority is called a Tribunal, if it does not have all the trappings of a Court.” In this instant case, the Court has taken recourse to many previous judgments and commentaries to explain this point”.

Also. ” In Mannadi Satyanarayan Reddy v Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly and Ors , the Andhra Pradesh High Court had to decide, inter alia, the question of whether the Speaker, while exercising jurisdiction, can decide whether or not a Legislator belongs to a particular Legislature party. Holding that a Speaker could indeed decide thus, the Court said that if, in deciding the question of a member’s disqualification depended upon an answer to which political party had set such member up and whether or not he belonged to such party, he should be allowed to decide such question. In the words of the Court,“there is nothing in paragraphs 1, 2, and 6 of the Tenth Schedule which fetters exercise of jurisdiction by the Speaker to decide this question.”

(REF :

Any further clarifications needed Sir ?

In the foregoing light, the ‘guilty’ in the sordid drama in Bengaluru, IN THE ORDER OF PRECEDENCE :

(1) – Governor H.R. Bharadwaj. He has acted more as a ‘Dalal’ for the Congress.
(2) HD Kumaraswamy & Co. He doesn’t like being out of power – so also the former ‘Prime Minister of Karnataka’.
 (3) – The Grand Old Party of India of Article 356 INFAME.

‘Tongue-in-Cheek’!! I ‘googled’ further, to see whether there were any Articles on  ” How Editorials Must be Written “. Jackpot – once again !! ” Writing Tips for Editorials and Persuasive Article Writing “.

Some of the wisdom : ” An editorial written out of anger or another strong emotion is not going to hold the persuasive power of one written with a limited range of emotion. Strong, reactive emotion will turn off readers, while a more personal and subdued emotional theme will draw readers in. “.

More important. ” Get your facts straight. While there is a limited protection afforded by opinion pieces, there is still a chance of your piece being construed as libel. If you are discussing people or businesses in your editorial, be sure that all facts are correct and are attributed. If you are writing negative opinions about people or businesses, be sure to begin by stating that it is your opinion. Opinions can be neither proved nor disproved, and will not be construed as libel unless there is an obvious component of malice to them. For this reason, never name call”.   Regrettably, you are ‘way off the mark’!!


Your edit reminded me of the ‘Sprite’ ad : “SEEDHI BAAT. BAKHWAS BANDH”.



Welcome to Haindava Keralam! Register for Free or Login as a privileged HK member to enjoy auto-approval of your comments and to receive periodic updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

17 − 4 =


Latest Articles from Bharath Focus

Did You Know?