Courts Can’t Decide Whether Constitutional Machinery Has Broken Down in a State: Supreme Court

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While hearing an appeal against the interim order passed by Andhra Pradesh High Court, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed the HC order to examine the functioning of Constitutional Machinery in the state under the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy Government, terming it “Unprecedented and disturbing”.

The High Court bench comprising of Justice Rakesh Kumar and J Uma Devi, while hearing a clutch of habeas corpus petitions had said on October 1,

“On the next hearing date, the learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the State may come prepared to assist the Court as to whether in the circumstances which are prevailing in the State of Andhra Pradesh, the Court can record a finding that there is a Constitutional breakdown in the State or not”.

In response to this, the State in its appeal has said,

“Under the scheme of the Constitution, it is Article 356 that deals with the failure of Constitutional machinery in a State. Under this Article, if the President, on receipt of a report from the Governor of a State or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the Hon’ble President can impose President’s Rule.”

As per the state, the power of examining whether there is a constitutional breakdown that happened in a state or not is exclusively vested in the Executive and the Judiciary cannot interfere in it.

The State represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said, “ this is uncalled for; violative of the basic structure of the Constitution; and, it is most respectfully submitted, grossly misconceived.”

The Supreme Court bench headed by CJI SA Bobde and comprising of Justice AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, without taking much time, said, “as an apex court, we find it disturbing”.

“In my entire life, I have never seen an order passed like this by any High Court or the Supreme Court”, the CJI said while staying the order of the High Court.

The Supreme Court further issued notice to the plea and directed the matter to be listed after the Christmas/ New Year Vacation.

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