SC agrees to examine petition by Uttarakhand governor against Modi govt

Qureshi said if at all someone should ask him to quit, it could only be the President and no one else.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: August 21, 2014 3:10 pm
Supreme court said its premises were "choked" with heavy traffic. The governor, as has been consistently ruled by the Supreme Court, was not an employee of the Union government, the petition said.

The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to examine a first-of-its kind petition by Uttarakhand governor Aziz Qureshi, challenging the Narendra Modi-led NDA government’s push to make him quit the post.

A bench led by Chief Justice R M Lodha issued a notice to the Centre and sought its response in five weeks on the plea that objected to Home Secretary’s phone call to Qureshi to resign.

The bench also referred the matter to a five-judge Constitution Bench since the issue involved interpretation of Articles 156 of the Constitution that pertains to manner of removal of Governors.

Appearing for Qureshi, senior advocate and former cabinet Minister Kapil Sibal said that the court must examine the procedure adopted in this case to seek his removal and also the limitation of powers on the government.

The petition is set to put to test the Centre’s decision to nudge gubernatorial authorities to either resign or to remove them at will. Since the Modi Government took charge at Centre, seven Governors were nudged to quit while two were sacked.

Questioning the union home secretary’s “audacity” in calling him up and asking him to put in his papers, Qureshi wondered how a Constitutional office of a Governor can be undermined by a Secretary-level officer in this manner.

The petition quoted Articles 155 and 156(1) of the Constitution, to state that the governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the President and hence he would hold office for five years if he continued to enjoy the confidence of the President.

Qureshi said if at all someone should ask him to quit, it could only be the President and no one else. The governor, as has been consistently ruled by the Supreme Court, was not an employee of the Union government, the petition said.

The petition cited the celebrated 2010 decision by the Supreme Court in BP Singhal’s case where strict curbs were imposed on the executive power of Centre to remove Governors at whims.

BJP MP Singhal had challenged the UPA government’s 2004 decision to remove Vishnu Kant Shastri (UP), Babu Parmanand (Haryana), Kailashpati Mishra (Gujarat) and Kidarnath Sahni (Goa).

The SC had then ruled that governors were not employees of the Union government to warrant removal on the ground of loss of “confidence” in them.

The Constitution bench had said: “While the President need not disclose or inform the cause for his removal to the governor, it is imperative that a cause must exist. If we do not proceed on that premise, it would mean that the President, on the advice of the council of ministers, may make any order which may be manifestly arbitrary or whimsical or mala fide.

“Therefore, while no cause or reason be disclosed or assigned for removal by exercise of such prerogative power, some valid cause should exist for the removal. Therefore, while we do not accept the contention that an order under Article 156 is not justiciable, we accept the contention that no reason need be assigned and no cause need be shown and no notice need be issued to the governor before removing a governor.”

The apex court had said if a governor’s removal was challenged, it would always presume there was a compelling reason for such action. It had said the onus was on the aggrieved person to show that the removal was arbitrary. Only after he established arbitrariness of removal would a court seek records from the government, it had said.

Those who quit after the Modi government took over include B V Wanchoo of Goa, B L Joshi of UP, M K Narayanan of West Bengal and Shekhar Dutt of Chhattisgarh. The President had withdrawn pleasure and sacked Kamala Beniwal after her transfer from Gujarat to Mizoram.

Qureshi had recently heaped praises on the Modi government after he got the additional charge of Governorship of Uttar Pradesh in June this year. Former Union Minister Ram Naik was appointed the UP Governor thereafter.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now

First Published on: August 21, 2014 3:08 pm
  1. P
    prakash gotimukul
    Aug 21, 2014 at 10:36 am
    This UPA appointee will resign even if peon of SG/RG asks him to do, but when NDA is asking him to resign he wants to go SC........so much for congress leaders loyalty to nation/consution
    Reply
    1. B
      BAPTY.s Seshasayee
      Aug 21, 2014 at 12:18 pm
      Wonderful comments, all these congress GHULAMS, enjoying gubernatorial posts, all luxury ,and being defended by s.c lawyers like KAPIL SIBAL, wasting s.c time, home ministry time, quoting consution ,the w thing is height of Hypocracy. VERY STRANGE ,OUR CONSUTION HAS NOT TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION, THAT IT IS FOR THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, WHEN THEY HAVE VOTED DECISIVELY FOR BJP 282 seats,and NDA 336 CONGRESS MISERABLE 44, WITH NIL SEATS IN MOST OF THE STATES,.NOW THIS GUY QURESHI A CONGRESS GHULAM POSTED BY CONGRESS QUOTES CONSUTION UNDER ADVICE FROM SIBAL. IT'S ALL A BIG JOKE. HIS EXBOSSES AND APPOINTERS THE CONGRESS WHEN REJECTED OUTRIGHT BY THE PEOPLE OF BHARATH , WHAT IS THIS GUY DOING SITTING AS GOV OF U.KHAND. IN FACT S.C SHLD ANNOUNCE NOW A PROVISO THAT IN SUCH CASES WHERE THE OLD GOVT DOES NOT EVEN ENJOY STATUS OF LOP ( LEADER OF OPPOSITION ) all their appointees must resign immeditely forthwith .
      Reply
      1. A
        Akash Kumar
        Aug 21, 2014 at 4:35 pm
        i saw the governor on TV he is rally old,i think SC should examine his age.too old for the post.his age must be expiring and is using it as a chance or weapon to attaack on NAMO
        Reply
        1. R
          Rajagopaln Nadimuthu
          Aug 21, 2014 at 6:12 pm
          These guys are political appointees who were all court jesters in UPA I and UPA II .Most of them have crossed eighty plus.How they can be productive ? Self respect demands that they should have gone on their own.If they donot go they have to be pushed out .
          Reply
          1. R
            Raghav Uchil
            Aug 21, 2014 at 11:42 am
            You are absoultely right sir. It is the position created by the British and they have left the country longback but left us with this glorified position specially created for the retired useless politicians, likes of ND Tiwari, sheila dixit etc. It is time Mr.Narendra Modi junks this position alongwith the planning commission.
            Reply
            1. S
              sham
              Aug 21, 2014 at 9:48 am
              I think every citizen has a right to ask him to quit. Only Presidrnt can sack him. Why Supreme Court is wasting its own time? If he does not want to talk to home secretary it is the business of Governor.
              Reply
              1. S
                Sreenivas
                Aug 21, 2014 at 10:33 am
                We know there are political biased people every where. In this case crying for justice is foul play/ it is simple any political appointee should resign if their masters leave the seat. Yet they will be sitting in that role to get befit to their political masters. See the truth.. some of the appointments are happend in May just before the election. You dont need to be Albert Einstein to understand this. Ruling party should see and take necessary action on such political appointees in the current govenement/insutions to avoid toppling its strategy and development plans.See the profile of the peioner.Joined Congress Seva Dal in 1951 as a School student.General Secretary of Student Congress, 1954.Founder Member and First General Secretary of Indian Youth Congress, Bhopal -1959.Was among the one hundred Congress workers selected by Late Mrs. Indira hi, the then Congress President.Selected worker for A.I.C.C. Cooperative Training in 1959 and worked as AICC cooperative organiser in Madhya Pradesh.Secretary, Madhya Pradesh Congress Election Committee(1980).Founder member, Indian Youth Congress and its First General Secretary in Bhopal.Secretary, Transport and Reception Committee, All India Congress Seva Dal Rally at Bhopal (1959).General Secretary, Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee, 1977-82;General Secretary, Madhya Pradesh Congress Election Committee, 1980 (appointed by Mrs. Indira hi to recommend candidates for both Lok Sabha & embly Election from Madhya Pradesh)Chairman, Madhya Pradesh State Fisheries Development Corporation, Bhopal, (1981-84); with status of Cabinet Minister.General Secretary, Friends of Soviet Union Madhya Pradesh Branch.Chairman, Madhya Pradesh Urdu Academy with status of Cabinet Minister.Vice Chairman of All India Taraqqi-e-Urdu Board, New Delhi.Founder Vice Chairman of National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (Minister of HRD, Govt of India is ex-officio Chairman of both the above Committees).Chairman, Govt. of India’s Urdu University Committee for the establishment of Central Urdu University in India.Member - (i)Court, Aligarh Muslim University (ii) Executive Council, Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi (Central University) (iii) Court, Central University, Andhra Pradesh (iv) Madhya Pradesh State 20-Point Programme Committee,(v) Bar at the Madhya Pradesh High Court.Member, Madhya Pradesh Legislative embly, (1972-77).Minister in the Government of Madhya Pradesh for (i) Irrigation and Power ( 1972-75), (ii) Education and Endowments (1976-77).Imprisoned in (i) February, 1978 for taking part in official party movement against Janata Party rule (ii) during the Narvada Andolan and (iii) for organising a demonstration against the arrest of late Shrimati Indira hi.Member, AICC since 1972, General Secretary, M.P.C.C. and M.P.C.C. (I) (1977-80)charge, Publicity and Public Relations Department, Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee (1961-62).Elected Member of Parliament of 8th Lok Sabha Congress (I) from Satna, Madhya Pradesh in 1984.
                Reply
                1. C
                  Citizen
                  Aug 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm
                  Does consution allow abuse of powers???? The fact that he is represented by another defeated guy clearly shows that these are all making tamasha of law and wasting SC's time. A suggestion can not be a bone of contention in this manner. We have seen a governor booted out for wasting money of a state for her/his personal ers. Another was shielded as her name sounds the same by this post from prosecution of curruption after defeat. Hope learned SC would set norms in this issue for ever. Jaihind
                  Reply
                  1. Load More Comments