Tamil Nadu

HC reserves verdict on plea to remove Governor

Judges take exception to “uncharitable” remarks made by the litigant against Purohit

The Madras High Court on Monday reserved orders on a plea to remove Governor Banwarilal Purohit from the constitutional post for not having taken any decision on the State Cabinet’s September 9, 2018 recommendation to release all seven life convicts in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R. Hemalatha deferred their verdict after hearing arguments advanced by advocates S. Doraisamy and V. Elangovan representing the writ petitioner M. Kannadasan of Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK). The petitioner had accused Mr. Purohit of having failed in his constitutional duty.

Immediately after the hearing commenced, the senior judge in the Bench wanted to know the constitutional provisions that the Governor had allegedly failed to comply with. To this, counsel claimed that he had violated Article 163 of the Constitution which requires a Governor to act as per the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.

On the contrary, the judge pointed out that no law prescribes a time limit within which a Governor was supposed to act. Further, in a case filed by S. Nalini, one of the seven convicts, another coordinate Bench had held that the court was not empowered to issue a direction to the Governor to act upon the Cabinet recommendation within a stipulated period.

The judges wondered how could the petitioner seek a direction to the Home Ministry to remove Mr. Purohit when Article 156 (1) of the Constitution clearly states that a Governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the President. Mr. Doraisamy intervened and said the President too could act only upon the aid and advice of the Union Cabinet.

Justice Sathyanarayanan also disapproved of certain remarks made by the petitioner against the Governor attributing political motives to the delay in deciding on the release of the seven convicts. Terming such remarks as “uncharitable,” he asked: “Do you mean to say a person appointed as Governor should be apolitical and that he should not have been a part of any political party? It is easy to attribute malafide but very difficult to prove it.”

Additional Solicitor General G. Rajagopalan and Advocate General Vijay Narayan were present in the court to appear on behalf of the Centre and the Governor during the hearing.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 10:56:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-reserves-verdict-on-plea-to-remove-governor/article30324410.ece

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