New Delhi, Aug 21: The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the Centre on Uttarakhand Governor’s plea challenging Narendra Modi government’s moves to ease him out of office, bringing the controversy over removal of UPA- appointed Governors under judicial lens.
The apex court also issued notice to Home Secretary Anil Goswami who had allegedly threatened Governor Aziz Qureshi to resign from the post or face removal by Centre.
A bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha granted six weeks time to Centre and Goswami to file their response on the allegation levelled by the Governor and referred the case to five-judge Constitution bench observing that interpretation of Article 156 (Term of office of Governor) is involved. Qureshi is the first Governor to move Supreme Court against the Modi government which has sacked two Governors.
Four other Governors by UPA have resigned since the NDA came to power in May this year. At the beginning of the proceedings of the case, which was listed for urgent hearing, the bench observed that Governor holds the post only during the pleasure of the President and someone has to convey the feeling of the President as he is not supposed to call himself.
A battery of lawyers, comprising two former Law Ministers of UPA regime–Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid– and two former Additional Solicitor Generals, however pleaded that Constitution provision of Article 156 has not been followed and Home Secretary threatening the Governor is unconstitutional.
Qureshi said in his petition that Centre and the Home Secretary should be asked on whose behest he was threatened and urged the court to “reprimand and pass strictures against such person(s)”.
“Issue an order or direction declaring that the impugned action of threatening the Governor to resign or face removal is constitutionally perverse, legally untenable, arbitrary, capricious and malicious and reprimand Home Secretary(and/or the persons responsible for such action) for his attempt to give such diktat to his constitutionally superior functionary,” the petition said.