National : ‘Will submerge separation of power’: SC on plea seeking barring minister after arrest

New Delhi, Sep 26 : The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a PIL seeking to debar a minister from holding office after two days of judicial custody, like a public servant.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice U.U. Lalit, said if the court allows the plea, then it will completely submerge the principle of separation of power. “We cannot incorporate disqualification in this manner and send somebody out,” it said, making it clear that it cannot enact a provision which becomes a binding law and an elected representative is thrown out of the House.

The bench, also comprising Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and J.B. Pardiwala, told petitioner, advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, that he has done good research to support his case, but the court cannot do much. The plea contended that a lawmaker should get suspended automatically, if he or she is in judicial custody for over 48 hours.

Upadhyay argued before the court that if an IAS officer or a court staffer are arrested and put in judicial custody for over 48 hours, then they are suspended and this should also apply to ministers.

The top court said this is the matter of law and it is for the legislature to legislate.

Upadhyay had filed the plea in June this year seeking a direction to the then Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government in Maharashtra to sack jailed NCP leader Nawab Malik as a minister. The petitioner also sought a direction to the Delhi government to sack minister Satyendar Jain, who was arrested in connection with criminal cases. After the top court said it is not keen to entertain the plea, Upadhyay withdrew it.

The plea said alternatively, being custodian of the Constitution, the top court should direct the Law Commission of India to examine election laws of developed countries and prepare a comprehensive report to maintain nobility, dignity of ministers, legislators and public servants in spirit of Article 14.


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