Observing that the issue of whether the Chief Minister of a state along with his cabinet colleagues can hold a dharna on the streets in support of his demand raised an important constitutional issue, the Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre and the Delhi government.

A Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and Shivakirti Singh, acting a writ petition filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, issued notice after Mr. Sharma submitted that the question that arose in the petition was whether “law makers could themselves become law breakers.” The Bench granted six weeks for the respondents to file their response.

Justice Lodha observed “every institution {including the office of Chief Minister} is a product of the Constitution, which is supreme. Every person who holds constitutional office is governed by the Constitution. We will examine the issue.”

In his petition Mr. Sharma raised important questions of law viz whether a Chief Minister /Minister holding constitutional office could become a street agitator against the constitutional systems at the same time; whether Chief Minister /Minister could make a demand other than through permitted constitutional means; whether they have any legal authority to act as a police to raid / detain any women in the midnight; and whether they could violate constitutional provision breach the oath of office /secrecy by staging the dharna on the road; whether Chief Minister /Minister is liable to be removed or not for the unconstitutional/misbehavior/criminal offence of I.P.C ; whether interference/ obstruction by Chief Minister to protect an accused criminal of (Section 509-B of IPC) during investigation does not attract 166-A of IPC against him?

The petitioner also drew the court’s attention to the vigilantism of Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti and his associates in rounding up some African nationals for medical tests on suspicion of being involved in "drug and sex racket" and said this action had attracted widespread condemnation but the Chief Minister had gone on record in support of him. This action raised an important question whether the Minister could take law into his own hands.

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