Friday, June 2, 2023

Taking political contentions to Court kills time on decision over other pressing matters 


By Abhijit Roy

While the country’s highest court questioned the Governor’s role in the political plot to destabilize the Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra and the Shinde group’s political maneuverings, it also enabled the Delhi government to carry out its responsibilities. It is ironic that situations that can be settled using democratic norms and universally accepted rules are made so complicated by political obstinacy and hubris that they have to be decided in courts.

Unfortunately, instead of devoting time to other serious and pressing concerns in the country, the courts have to intervene in such issues that can be avoided. Concerning the political saga unfolding in Maharashtra, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Uddhav Thackeray cannot be re-elected Chief Minister. The reason attributed was that Uddhav Thackeray had resigned from his position. However, the Supreme Court ruled that the floor test imposed by the Governor in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in June 2022 was not in conformity with the regulations. The court, on the other hand, has directed the Speaker to rule on the petition seeking the disqualification of 16 MLAs. The court said that the floor test can never be used to solve the internal discord of a party. It is worth mentioning that this situation arose in Maharashtra after the rebellion of sixteen MLAs in June last year. Later, Eknath Shinde not only formed the government with the BJP but also took away the rights and symbol of the party from the Election Commission following which, Uddhav Thackeray had to take refuge in the Apex Court. The matter was later referred to a five-judge constitutional bench.

On the other hand, on Thursday, the Apex Court also gave a guiding verdict on the long-standing conflict between the Kejriwal government and the LG over the rights of the Delhi government. Talking about the ongoing legal battle over rights, the top court ruled that the Delhi government has the right to post and transfer officers. that till now, was only with the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. The Court had made it clear that land, public order, and police would remain under the authority of the central government. Undoubtedly, this decision is clear and guiding, unlike the split decision that came in 2019. A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud unanimously ruled that the LG cannot interfere in each function of the Delhi government elected by the people.

It is only logical for the government elected by the people to have the authority to transfer and post officers. In fact, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been alleging that the officers posted by the central government are not allowing him to work because his government does not have the authority to appoint and transfer them. Undoubtedly, the decision of the Supreme Court is not only for the administrative system; it also has political significance. This decision will, beyond doubt, boost the morale of the Kejriwal government. The Court observed that any elected government should have the right to carry forward the democratic process. In other words, the real power in any government should be in the hands of the people’s representatives. This is also necessary for the federal structure and democratic values.

(Author is a Jamshedpur-based columnist. The views expressed are personal. He can be reached at [email protected])

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