Lessons from Uttarakhand and Arunachal: What court orders on Central rule say

The constitutional courts have stated that a Governor must remember he is not a democratically elected representative.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: July 15, 2016 11:37 am
arunachal pradesh, arunachal pradesh verdict, nabam tuki, jyoti prasad rajkhowa, Harish Rawat , arunachal pradesh, Uttarakhand President’s Rule, Arunachal Pradesh President’s Rule, Modi govt, arunchal president rule, congress, bjp, arunachal pradesh, arunachal pradesh verdict, arunachal pradesh congress, arunachal pradesh government, arunachal pradesh governor, governors rule, governor rule, india news Reinstated Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Source: PTI)

With the Supreme Court driving the return of Congress governments in two states in less than three months, the BJP government at the Centre has earned the dubious distinction of having been pushed back on the imposition of President’s Rule in perhaps the quickest succession in Indian judicial history.

The Presidential proclamations brought the office of the Governor in both states under cloud, prompting the top court to lay down contours of power that could be validly exercised by the Centre through the Governor, particularly when different parties are in power at the Centre and in the state.

The legal defeats of the central government have also reaffirmed the role and authority of the constitutional courts, which have underscored forcefully the significance of democratically elected governments in states at a time when a different party has a brute majority at the Centre.

WATCH | Political Implications Of Supreme Court’s Arunachal Verdict

 

While the role of the Centre came under the courts’ scanner in Uttarakhand where the Presidential proclamation was challenged, the role of the Governor was scrutinised in Arunachal’s case. A Supreme Court-ordered floor test helped the Congress regain power in Uttarakhand, whereas in Arunachal, the “unconstitutional” exercise of powers by the Governor was declared sufficient to propel the Congress government back at the helm.

The upshot of the judgments by the constitutional courts in the two cases can be summed up by the opinion expressed by the five-judge Constitution Bench on the ambit of powers with the Centre, which has consistently maintained that imposition of President’s rule was its exclusive prerogative.

“It must be appreciated that no one is above the law and equally, no one is not answerable to the law…,” Justice Madan B Lokur held in his concurring judgment that restored the Congress government in Arunachal this week.

Wednesday’s verdict was also the first to not only quash the Governor’s decisions leading to President’s Rule, but to turn the clock back to reinstate the previous government. In two earlier cases, the apex court had refrained from reinstating the previous government, even while it held the proclamation to have been wrongly issued. In Bommai’s case, the previous government was not restored because of the passage of time, whereas in Rameshwar Prasad’s case, fresh elections had been notified.

The judgments by the Supreme Court and the Uttarakhand High Court have elucidated the significance of the “principle of responsible government” and the necessity of a “comity” between the constitutional functionaries “to further the constitutional vision of democracy in the larger interests of the nation”.

Share This Article
Share
Related Article

Watch Video: What’s making news

Regretting what the Constitution Bench on Wednesday described as “a thrashing to the Constitution and a spanking to governance”, the constitutional courts have outlined that dislodging a democratically elected government through a Presidential proclamation must happen in extremely rare circumstances, and that the Governor, in such instances, must “keep clear of any political horse-trading, and even unsavoury political manipulations, irrespective of the degree of their ethical repulsiveness”.

The courts have stated that a Governor must remember he is not a democratically elected representative, and therefore, he cannot assume powers of a responsible government and act without the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers. The judgments are guiding directions to the Governors to act dispassionately and disassociate themselves from the political affiliations once they resume the constitutional posts.

The judgments further define the specific powers of the Governor, saying that when he believes that the state government has lost the confidence of the majority, he could propose a floor test and then send a report to the President. Under no other circumstances, the courts have now held, can the Governor act without aid and advice.

Also emphasising the role of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the judgments have said that no other authority, including the Governor, can direct the Speaker on how to conduct the proceedings of the House, while reiterating that in a democracy, the floor test is the real test to prove majority.

utkarsh.anand@expressindia.com

For all the latest Explained News, download Indian Express App

  1. A
    Anand Prakash
    Jul 16, 2016 at 10:11 am
    A vain hope by a khaki chadhi bhakt.
    Reply
    1. B
      Benedict
      Jul 15, 2016 at 8:06 am
      Any govt at the centre should not get the governor to play dirty. It is the people that elect the govt be it at the centre or the state. The present situation in Arunachal is like a kick in the head for the ruling party at the centre. The governor is made the scapegoat. It is good that there is the courts to act as a braking mechanism otherwise the govt at the centre becomes a power unto itself, and will do what it pleases disregarding the peoples wishes
      Reply
      1. D
        Devendra S
        Jul 18, 2016 at 5:26 am
        dOES THE CONSUTION PRESCRIBE FOR HORSE TRADING , BUYING AND SELLING OF LEGISLATURES AND M.P'S. DOES IT ALLOW THE SPEAKER TO LOCK THE EMBLY AS IF IT HIS PERSONAL PROPERTY AND ALLOW THE ILLETERATE LEGISLATURES TO HOLD THE STATE AT RANSOM?lt;br/gt;THE SPIRIT OF THE CONSUTION MUST BE UPHELD. tHE JUDGES SHOULD HAVE FACTORED IN THE IMMORAL.lt;br/gt;ARTICLE 142 GIVES SWEEPING POWERS TO THE SUPREME COURT WHICH THEY DONOT USE FOR NATIONAL PURPOSES.THEY DON'T RECOGNISE THE RIGHTS/HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE JAWANS AND POLICE BUT JUST FOLLOW SOME JUDGEMENT OF THE PAST WHEN THE POLITICAL AND SOCIAL FABRIC WAS DIFFERENT.lt;br/gt;THEY DIDN'T USE 142 EVEN IN THE BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY CASE.lt;br/gt;EVEN IF THEY FOUND THE ORDER OF THE GOVERNOR NOT CONSUTIONALLY CORRECT THEY COULD HAVE JUST REVERSED THE DECISION BUT ALSO MENTIONED THAT HORSE TRADING IS JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE.lt;br/gt;BESIDES WHY THE SPEAKER WAS NOT DISQUALIFIED BECAUSE OF HIS UNCONSUTIONAL BEHAVIOUR?lt;br/gt;FINALLY IF THEY ARE SO CONVINCED THAT THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE IS SUPREME THEN WHY DO THEY NOT STRIKE DOWN THE CONTEMPT OF COURT LAW IF ANY ONE CHALLENGES THEIR JUDGEMENT?
        Reply
        1. N
          nu
          Jul 17, 2016 at 6:23 am
          Your cHADDI stupid SMILE just vanished.
          Reply
          1. N
            Nityananda
            Jul 19, 2016 at 2:24 pm
            The real effect of the two SC judgements will be that the President will not take advice from the Modi- Jaitley combine at face value and ask for more evidence before proclaiming Central rule
            Reply
            1. M
              msn
              Jul 15, 2016 at 7:42 am
              The Hon. court should also remember they are also not elected by the Govt while ruling against the Central/Stage Govts and Loksabha, embly decisions. Court and Congress have some similarities. One is not elected by the people and other one was rejected by the people.
              Reply
              1. A
                Anand Ch
                Jul 15, 2016 at 6:42 am
                Installed governments will not work long. All these smiles will vanish once floor test is over.
                Reply
                1. S
                  Sawan
                  Jul 18, 2016 at 12:11 pm
                  So what did you learn? That BJP should not try to ape the Bolsheviks or the NSDAP? To quote "Hitler's rise was a calculated thing with a lot of steps to cross. At each point, he destro his opponents and got public to view him favorably. Leaders don't get selected for the diplomas and work experiences during the tough times. It is actually a disadvantage to have high pedigree and conventional backgrounds in those periods. In tough times, people go for unconventional leaders as they believe that the conventional leaders failed to deliver. Thus, his lack of degrees and strong professional career was not an impediment. For instance, at the end of Vietnam war, oil crisis, Watergate and Iran refugee crisis in 1970s, US elected two unconventional leaders - Carter and Reagan - outsiders who were thought of as an antidote to the prevailing rot in politics. Hitler had that precise advantage. He was an outsider and he was mesmerizing. People wanted to believe what he said was right. Although he was an Austrian, he was always impressed of Germany, fought for Germany and many Germans didn't realize he was an Austrian.
                  Reply
                  1. Load More Comments