‘Aziz Qureshi told to resign or get sacked’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 21, 2014 Published on August 21, 2014

AZIZ QURESHI, Uttarakhand Governor

Supreme Court issues notice to Centre on Uttarakhand Governor ’s petition

The Supreme Court has issued notices to the Centre on a petition filed on behalf of Uttarakhand Governor Aziz Qureshi, who argued that he was being asked to resign or face the sack by Home Secretary Anil Goswami.

Former Law Minister and senior counsel Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, Vivek K Tankha and Harin P Raval appeared before the apex court, which referred the matter to a five-judge constitution bench.

The matter was heard by a bench comprising Chief Justice RM Lodha, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton F Nariman.

In his petition, Qureshi claimed that he received a call from Goswami on July 30.

“The Home Secretary told the Governor that unless he tenders his resignation, he will be removed from office by the Union Government,” said the petition.

According to the petitioned, the Home Secretary cited certain comments that the Governor had made with regard to a rape incidents which, he said, was the reason for his removal. Qureshi had allegedly said that “even God can’t stop rapes in Uttar Pradesh”.

In his petition, however, the Governor said the representation of his comments in the media was “vexatious, false and twisted” and he had subsequently explained what he had actually said to President Pranab Mukherjee in a sealed envelope.

“Nothing further was heard in this regard till August 5 when Anil Goswami again called the Governor of Uttarakhand and put him to terms by asking him to tender his resignation and intimating that otherwise he will be sacked,” said the petition, drawn up on behalf of the Uttarakhand Governor by advocate Rishabh Sancheti.

The Governor argued that the conduct of the Central Government and the Home Secretary, if allowed, will lead to “disastrous consequences”.

Fear of sacking

“The Home Secretary of the Government of India has no authority to call the Governor of a State who is his constitutional superior and ask for his resignation. The conduct of the respondents number 1 and 2 (Union of India through the Cabinet Secretary and Anil Goswami, Home Secretary respectively), if allowed to continue and not forthwith proscribed, will jeopardise the constitutional scheme…Under fear of sacking, the Government of India can arm-twist the Governor regarding important functions pertaining to the Governor’s office,” the petition read.

Published on August 21, 2014
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