Supreme Court stays HC decision to examine if constitutional machinery broke down in state

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has stayed an order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court which sought to examine whether there was ‘breakdown of constitutional machinery’ in the state. Chie Justice of India SA Bobde expressed disquiet with HC order while staying it on Friday.

“As the apex court, we find it very disturbing. Have you ever seen any high court pass such an order before,” CJI Bobde, heading a three-judge bench, asked senior advocate Siddharth Luthra. The bench issued notices to all parties in the case to file their formal legal submissions before SC and listed the case for next year. “Until further orders there shall be a stay of further proceedings,” the CJI said.

Acting on a series of habeas corpus petitions, the HC had on October 1 sought an explanation from the Jagan Reddy government to explain whether in the ‘circumstances existing in the state’ the court could record a finding that there was breakdown in the constitutional machinery in the state. In the Constitution’s scheme of things, it is the prerogative of the governor, the Centre’s representative, to assess possible break down of constitutional machinery and make a report while recommending President’s rule.

The Jagan Reddy government, on the warpath with the HC in recent months, appealed against the order in the SC. Such an examination can only be done by the President and not by the judiciary, the Reddy government said. The state was represented in the case by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. The petition filed through advocate Mahfooz Nazki pointed out that the state government had also filed an application in the HC seeking recall of the order. But HC was not taking up the case, the state contended. The HC could not have passed such an order suo motu, the state also argued.

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