Drop ‘tainted’ mantris: SC

Drop ‘tainted’ mantris: SC

The Supreme Court continues to rock the government’s boat. After its damning verdict in the coal block allocations on Tuesday.

  • SC asks PM, CMs to act as trustees of the Constitution
  • Observes it is not proper to induct charge-sheeted leaders
  • Notes Constitution (Art. 75) puts no bar on such leaders
  • However, many things could not be said in the Constitution
  • Govts must act so as to restore people’s faith in democracy

New Delhi: The Supreme Court continues to rock the government’s boat. After its damning verdict in the coal block allocations on Tuesday, a five-judge constitution bench has posed a moral challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and all the chief ministers in the country asking them not to induct charge sheeted persons facing trial for offences involving moral turpitude.
Nitin Gadkari and Uma Bharti in the firing line
In its order on a petition filed way back in 2005 seeking the removal of charge-sheeted ministers the bench headed by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha said that the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers as the trustees of the constitution were expected to act in accordance with the constitutional propriety and not appoint unwarranted persons as ministers. If the Prime Minister were to follow this advice, at least 14 persons from the present ministry including leading lights like Uma Bharti, Nitin Gadkari, as well as some of his favourite persons from the Gujarat ministry like Babubhai Bokhiria, Purshottam Solanki would have to pack up.

Seizing upon this observation, Congress spokesperson Rajeev Gowda said that all through his campaign Modi had been referring to elimination of corruption, and this offers him the opportunity to prove his constitutional morality.” In so far as the Congress Chief Ministers were concerned, the party high command expects them to pay heed to this observation by the apex court, he added. These observations of the Supreme Court have to be seen in the light of Article 75 of the Constitution which does not contain any limitation as to who can or cannot be included in the Council of Ministers, and hence no new disqualification could be added to prevent charge-sheeted persons from being appointed ministers.

According to the bench, many things could not be said in the Constitution, but it could not, however, be expected to operate in a vacuum. The Prime Minister should act in the interests of national polity and avoid unwarranted persons facing criminal charges to restore people’s faith in democracy.

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