It is the duty of the Governor to act on the advice of the cabinet: Supreme Court; Punjab session from March 3

New Delhi: The constitutional crisis over Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit’s refusal to convene the budget session of the assembly from March 3 deepened on Tuesday with the Supreme Court saying the governor was bound by the advice of the state cabinet. Issue.

A bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud, however, disapproved of the conduct of both Governor Purohit and CM Bhagwant Mann for letting their political differences come in the way of discharging their constitutional duties.

“That the budget session will not be called is absolutely inconceivable…an affront on the part of both the parties,” said the bench, also comprising Justice PS Narasimha.

Hearing the Punjab government’s plea against the Governor’s refusal to convene the budget session, the bench referred to Constitution Bench decisions to hold that the Governor’s power to summon the Assembly under Article 174 of the Constitution is to be exercised with the aid and advice of the Council. but had to be done. of ministers.

“In view of the clear constitutional provision, there can be no doubt that the power which the Governor has to summon the House is to be exercised on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. It is not a constitutional power which the Governor can exercise in his discretion. entitled to do. The apex court said that it is also the duty of the Chief Minister to give the information sought by the Governor.

“Under Article 167(b) of the Constitution, when the Governor asks you to furnish information, you are bound to furnish it. Ask one of your secretaries to answer. At the same time, once the cabinet says that it is duty bound to convene the budget session,” the bench termed his tweets and statements against the governor as “highly defamatory and clearly unconstitutional”.

The top court said the tone and tenor of the chief minister’s letter “leaves much to be desired”. At the same time, the bench said, “neglect of the CM” was not a justification for the Governor not to convene the House.

It states, “The failure of one constitutional authority to fulfill its duty shall not be a justification for another not to fulfill its specific duty under the Constitution.”

At the outset of the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the top court that Governor Purohit had already summoned the House for the budget session from March 3 and the Punjab government’s plea had become infructuous.

“The governor is now making a virtue out of necessity after the state approached the SC. Is this the way the governor should work? They have hijacked the Constitution,” senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi told the bench.

The bench said, “Political differences are acceptable in a democratic polity and without a race to the bottom, one has to act with a sense of propriety and maturity. Unless these characteristics are followed, constitutional principles will be put in jeopardy.” “There should be a definite constitutional discourse in our public discourse. We may be from different parties, the office of the Governor does not belong to any party… We have to have a constitutional debate.”

Singhvi said that the Punjab government was forced to approach the Supreme Court due to the Governor’s refusal to convene the assembly for the budget session. Mehta said that the Chief Minister has used very inappropriate language in his letters to the Governor.

The Solicitor General said that the governor did not refuse to convene the assembly, but only said that he would take a decision on some statements of the CM after taking legal advice. “Look at the level of discourse. Street language is used…, Mehta said about the CM’s reply to the Governor’s letter seeking some details.

Singhvi had earlier mentioned the matter before a bench headed by the CJI, which agreed to consider it after the constitution bench related to Maharashtra got over the matter.