On Friday, the Supreme Court stayed an order from the Andhra Pradesh High Court proposing to proceed on a judicial inquiry into whether there is a constitutional failure in the Jagan Mohan Reddy government’s state apparatus, requiring a declaration of the rule of the President.
Has anyone before seen an order like this… We found it alarming as an apex court. We shall remain in this order… Immediately after the holidays, we will take up this case,” observed Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde, heading a three-judge bench.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta questioned why there should be a constitutional breakdown in the state” by the High Court.
Represented by lawyer Mahfooz Ahsan Nazki, the government said it was not up to the High Court to inquire into and suggest the rule of the President in a territory.
“Article 356 deals with the collapse of a state’s legislative machinery… This is a right in the Executive [to enforce the order of the President exclusively vests. The authority in this respect, such as submitting a report either to the Hon’ble President or to the Hon’ble Governor or to record a finding in that regard, cannot be exercised by the judiciary,’ said the government’s petition.
The High Court’s ‘unprecedented’ order of 1 October came when it ruled on habeas corpus pleas submitted by families of people held in judicial detention or on parole.
“The High Court summoned the State counsel suo motu to assist it in deciding “whether the court should report a finding that there is a constitutional breakdown in the State or not in circumstances that prevail in the State of Andhra Pradesh.
‘HC did not take up application’
The State said that the High Court did not take up an appeal to recall the October 1 order, prompting the government to move the supreme court.
The government said the observation of the High Court breached the Constitution’s doctrine of the Fundamental Framework.
It is not for the courts to determine, within the legislative system, whether a constitutional breakdown occurs in society. A distinct statutory power has been expressly bestowed on the aforementioned authority, and properly so. It is not important to note that there are no judicially discoverable and manageable norms in the constitutional courts to decide if there has been a constitutional collapse, the petition argued.