Supreme Court stays Andhra Pradesh High Court's "disturbing" order to examine "breakdown of Constitutional machinery" in AP

Andhra Pradesh government represented by Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta argued that only President is empowered to go into question of 'breakdown of Constitutional machinery" under Article 356 and not the judiciary.
Supreme Court stays Andhra Pradesh High Court's "disturbing" order to examine "breakdown of Constitutional machinery" in AP
Jagan Mohan Reddy, Supreme Court

An Andhra Pradesh High Court order seeking YS Jaganmohan Reddy government's response on whether there is a situation of "constitutional breakdown" in the State, is "disturbing", the Supreme Court said on Friday proceeding to stay the order.

The AP High Court, while hearing over 14 habeas corpus petitions filed by detained individuals, had, on October 1, asked counsel appearing on behalf of the State to come prepared to "assist the court as to whether in circumstances, which are prevailing in the State of Andhra Pradesh, the court can record a finding that there is constitutional breakdown in the State or not."

The Andhra Pradesh government approached the Supreme Court challenging this order contending that it impinges the doctrine of separation of powers since it is the President who is empowered to go into question of 'breakdown of Constitutional machinery" under Article 356 and not the judiciary.

"In any case, have you seen an order like this? As an apex court we find it disturbing. Issue notice, stay. List immediately after vacation," a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde ordered.

Article 356 of the Constitution deals with failure of constitutional machinery in a State. Under Article 356 if the President of India, on receipt of report from the Governor of a State or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, he can impose President's Rule.  

Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta arguing for AP Government submitted that "this is a power exclusively vested in the Executive and cannot be exercised by the Judiciary."

The petition drawn and filed by advocate Mahfooz Nazki states that under the Constitutional framework, it is not for courts to decide as to whether there is a Constitutional breakdown in a State.

" The said power has been specifically conferred upon a different Constitutional Authority – and rightly so. Constitutional courts do not have any judicially discoverable and manageable standards to determine if there has been a Constitutional breakdown in the State. The said fact is essentially an executive function and is necessarily required to be based on a detailed factual analysis. The courts simply do not have any means to decide such question," the plea reads.

The plea also states that the State government had filed an application before the High Court to recall the order under which such question was raised suo moto but it "was not being taken up".

"Question framed by the High Court is not only unprecedented, but is also uncalled for, violative of the basic structure of the Constitution and, it is most respectfully submitted, grossly misconceived," reads the appeal.

The YS Jaganomohan Reddy government has been involved in an open battle against the State's High Court. Reddy had even written to Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde alleging that former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is using the High Court to destabilize and topple his democratically elected government.

The letter had also alleged that a sitting Supreme Court judge was using his influence in the AP High Court to achieve the same object.

Jagan Mohan Reddy, Supreme Court
Attorney General KK Venugopal's consent sought to initiate contempt against Andhra CM YS Jaganmohan Reddy

(Read order)

Attachment
PDF
State of AP vs Reddi Govinda Rao.pdf
Preview

Related Stories

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news
www.barandbench.com