Hyderabad: The Supreme Court, on 18 December, put a stay on Andhra Pradesh High Court's "disturbing" order to examine the breakdown of Constitutional machinery in the state.
On 1 October, the AP High Court, while hearing over 14 habeas corpus petitions filed by detained individuals, had asked the counsel appearing on behalf of the state to come prepared to "assist the court as to whether in circumstances, which are prevailing in the state of Andhra Pradesh, the court can record a finding that there is constitutional breakdown in the state."
The Andhra Pradesh government approached the Supreme Court challenging this order contending that it impinges the doctrine of separation of powers since it is the President who is empowered to question Constitutional breakdown under Article 356 and not the judiciary.
"In any case, have you seen an order like this? As an apex court we find it disturbing. Issue notice, stay. List immediately after vacation," a Bench headed by Chief Justice S.A Bobde ordered on Friday.
Article 356 of the Constitution deals with the failure of constitutional machinery in a state. Under Article 356 if the President of India, 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, he can impose President's Rule.
The AP government has submitted that "this is a power exclusively vested in the Executive and cannot be exercised by the Judiciary".
The Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy government has been involved in an open battle against the state's High Court. Jagan had even written to Chief Justice Bobde alleging that former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is using the High Court to destabilise and topple his democratically-elected government. The letter had also alleged that a sitting Supreme Court judge was using his influence in the AP High Court to achieve the same object.
With inputs from Bar and Bench