SC verdicts a strong message to constitutional authorities on neutrality

In back-to-back judgments , it says they should not favour party politics

November 30, 2019 08:50 pm | Updated 08:50 pm IST - NEW DELHI

NEW DELHI, 24/11/2019: A view of Supreme Court of Inida, in New Delhi on  November 25,2019.
Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

NEW DELHI, 24/11/2019: A view of Supreme Court of Inida, in New Delhi on November 25,2019. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Supreme Court, through its back-to-back decisions in November while resolving the political crises in Maharashtra and Karnataka, has sent a strong message to high constitutional authorities who shed their neutrality to favour party politics in States.

The court has highlighted the need for authorities like the Speaker and the Governor to be faithful to constitutional morality and not vacillate under “prevailing political pressures”.

The court has made it clear that as “the sentinel on the qui vive of the Constitution, it is under obligation to see that the democracy prevails and not gets hollowed by individuals”.

In its November 26 order in the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine’s petition against the Governor’s decision to appoint the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra, the Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana agreed to judicially examine the extent of a Governor’s ‘satisfaction’ on who commands the majority to form the government.

Justice Ramana wrote that these were issues “touching upon the democratic bulwark of our nation”.

The order was preceded by a November 13 judgment based on a bunch of petitions filed by 17 former dissident JD(S)-Congress Karnataka legislators against the Speaker’s decision to disqualify them for defection.

“In order to uphold the Constitution, we need to have men and women who will make a good Constitution such as ours, better,” Justice Ramana, who authored the verdict, had observed.

“If Speaker is not able to disassociate from his political party and behaves contrary to the spirit of the neutrality and independence, such person does not deserve to be reposed with public trust and confidence,” Justice Ramana wrote in the Karnataka verdict.

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