Validity of Governor’s decision: SC keeps ruling pending

Mumbai: The Devendra Fadnavis government did not have the spunk to face the floor test in the House as ordered by the apex court. The court had taken the winds out of their sails by insisting that the floor test will not be through secret ballot and be conducted by the pro tem speaker.

But the matter does not rest here. The Supreme Court is yet to decide on the validity of the decision of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, who 'installed' the Fadnavis government at the break of dawn after a hurried midnight revocation of President’s Rule.

What added to the discomfort of the BJP was the fact that the three-judge bench led by Justice NV Ramana ordered a first ever 'televised' floor test for the BJP. This order has set the precedent for future political developments of a similar nature.

But soon after the orders of floor test, which was to be conducted by Wednesday evening, the Fadnavis government lost its steam and collapsed with both the Chief Minister and his deputy putting in their papers.

However, the contentions and the serious doubts raised by the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress combine against the conduct of the Governor are still to be adjudicated.

The newly formed coalition – the Maha Vikas Aghaadi – had accused Governor Koshyari of mala fide and for acting as an agent of the Union government. The troika had further accused Koshyari of acting against all norms of transparency by revoking President's Rule at an unearthly hour.

All these issues are still open and yet to be adjudicated by the SC, even though the Governor enjoys immunity for his actions under Article 361 of the Constitution.

“Having heard the submissions on the extent of judicial review and validity of the Governor’s satisfaction, we are of the opinion that they can be adjudicated at an appropriate time,” noted the SC bench, which also had on board justices Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna.

“There is no doubt that the conten-tions have to be answered, as the petitioners have raised questions concerning important constitutional issues touching upon the democratic bulwark of our nation,” the apex court said while keeping these issues pending.

The bench has accordingly granted eight weeks’ time to the Union government, the state chief secretary and Fadnavis to file their detailed replies and affidavits. The bench is likely to take up the matter for further hearing after three months.

While keeping the petitions pending to examine the decisions of the Governor, the apex court underscored the need for imbibing constitutional morality.

Though the floor test order was rendered infructuous after the resignations, but it would be a beacon for the generations to come. This order, according to legal luminaries, would act as a thumb rule at least for Maharashtra, if a similar crisis erupts again.

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Free Press Journal