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Supreme Court Refuses To Entertain Plea To Suspend Ministers If They Spend More Than 2 Days In Custody

Padmakshi Sharma
26 Sep 2022 3:40 PM GMT
Supreme Court Refuses To Entertain Plea To Suspend Ministers If They Spend More Than 2 Days In Custody
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Supreme Court, on Monday, refused to entertain a petition filed by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay seeking a direction that a Minister should be temporarily debarred from holding office, if the said person has spent 2 days in judicial custody.The matter was heard by bench comprising Chief Justice U.U. Lalit, Justice Ravindra Bhat and Justice J.B. Pardiwala.At the outset, the CJI remarked that...

Supreme Court, on Monday, refused to entertain a petition filed by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay seeking a direction that a Minister should be temporarily debarred from holding office, if the said person has spent 2 days in judicial custody.

The matter was heard by bench comprising Chief Justice U.U. Lalit, Justice Ravindra Bhat and Justice J.B. Pardiwala.

At the outset, the CJI remarked that the matter was such that the courts could not adjudge upon it and it was the legislature which had to consider it. He stated–

"You're saying that somebody who has undergone custody for 2 days, a representative of people, if they are under a situation, they should stand barred...That is a matter for legislature to consider. Every representative represents an electorate. It's the Parliament who decides because if we do this ,the electorate stands denied of representation in house."

Here, Upadhyay submitted that he had a limited prayer and was requesting the same for executive ministers. However, CJI Lalit stated that–

"Minister is also a representative. We cannot incorporate a disqualification and send somebody out. Especially under our 52 jurisdiction. We cannot do this because otherwise the separation of power principle gets completely submerged."

Advocate Upadhyay further reiterated his point by stating that no public servant, even a court master, could not continue their services after going to custody for 48 hours. He added–

"Just see the oath of the Union Minister and oath of judges. There is a clear difference. Lordship has to uphold the constitution. The fourth oath is the difference- "I will uphold the constitution". Upholding the constitution is upholding the constitution morality."

However, the bench remained unconvinced and stated–

"You are saying that the moment someone goes to custody for 48 hours, he is suspended. That is something which becomes a personal disqualification. You're not trying to subserve a person- like Vishakha where you're trying to uplift someone. If we uphold your case, we're condemning someone. Every minister has to be a member of the house within 6 months. There is a Twilight period of 6 months, you're right. But that's the scheme of legislation we have adopted."

Accordingly, the bench advised the petitioner to withdraw the petition. He sought liberty to approach the Law Commission. However, the bench refused to grant him such liberty and the matter was dismissed as withdrawn.

CASE TITLE: Ashwini Kumar v UOI & Ors W.P.(C) No. 463/2022

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