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SC Says Can't be Mute as Democracy is Slaughtered

Published: 05th February 2016 04:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th February 2016 04:20 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday, while hearing a petition on the powers of Governors, took strong exception to a submission that all decisions of the Governor are not open to judicial review and said it could not be a mute spectator when democratic processes were slaughtered.

“If democracy is slaughtered, how can the court remain silent?” a five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Justice J S Khehar, questioned.

The poser came after the counsel for a BJP MLA from Arunachal Pradesh listed the powers of Governors and argued that courts cannot review all their decisions. The bench summoned despatch records, containing details of correspondence of the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly from October, as it was not satisfied with the documents produced by an official of the Assembly.

The bench wanted to examine certain communications between the office of Assembly Speaker Nabam Rebia and Governor J P Rajkhowa on issues like convening or advancing the assembly session and disqualification of rebel Congress MLAs.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for some rebel Congress lawmakers, supported the Governor’s decisions maintaining that convening the assembly session cannot be termed undemocratic.“It is not compulsory for the Governor to take aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his council of ministers in summoning the assembly session,” Dwivedi said.

The hearing will continue Friday on a batch of pleas filed by Rebia and other Congress leaders against a Gauhati High Court order. The bench said Governors were political appointees and their actions were open to judicial review as nowadays even judges were considered for such assignments. SC is also considering fresh pleas against imposition of President’s Rule in the state and will hear them on February 8.

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