Discretion or whim, asks SC

The Governor said he was not bound by the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his Cabinet.

December 9 also saw the Governor send a message to the House, directing it to list the subject of removal of the Speaker as the first item on its agenda.

“Did he get into the character of the Speaker? What was the urgency to remove the Speaker?” Justice Dipak Misra, on the Bench also comprising Justices Madan B. Lokur, P.C. Ghose and N.V. Ramana, asked.

Referring to its past judgments, the apex court said a Governor could not assume constitutional discretion unless such powers were expressly provided in the specific Articles of the Constitution.

Since Article 174 (1) was silent on whether the Governor should consult or not the State Cabinet before advancing dates of the Assembly session, it was presumed that aid and advice of the Chief Minister and Council was required to be taken. “If you have a discretionary power, the Constitution will say so,” Justice Misra observed.

“The Governor is the defender of the Constitution. He is the protector of Constitutional principles,” Justice Misra pointed out.

Responding, Mr. Andhyarujina said Governor Rajkhowa found that it was an “imperative necessity to have the Assembly as soon as possible... It was found that the Speaker was hand-in-glove with the ruling party and changing the rules of the game.”

To this, the Bench asked if it was part of the duty of the Governor to sit in appeal on whether the Speaker was doing his constitutional duty or not. “Was yours a constitutional apprehension at all? Were you not indirectly passing a restriction on the powers of the Speaker?” Justice Misra observed.

Mr. Andhyarujina said the “Governor is no great constitutional lawyer, but he had instincts.”

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