SC seeks response from Centre on sacking of Governors

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today issued notice and sought response from the BJP-led government on the issue of sacking of UPA-appointed Governors of Uttarakhand and Pudducherry in 2014 when it came to power, terming it as “a serious matter”.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by the Chief Justice T S Thakur, which was hearing a petition filed by Aziz Qureshi and Virendra Kataria, former Governors of Uttarakhand and Pudducherry respectively, sought response from the Centre within four weeks and posted the matter on March 28.

Qureshi, who was eased out as Governor soon after Narendra Modi government came to power in May 2014, had alleged that then Home Secretary had threatened him to resign from the post or face removal. Kataria, a former Congress leader, was also sacked as Puducherry Governor in July 2014.

During the hearing, the bench, also comprising Justices F M I Kalifulla, A K Sikri, S A Bobde and R Banumathi, observed that “it is a serious matter”.

“We may also have to lay down a format in which communications with such high constitutional dignitaries takes place,” the bench observed.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi represented the Centre, while senior advocate and Congress leader Vivek Tankha was appearing for the two sacked Governors.

During the hearing, the bench noted that while a phone call was made to Qureshi by then Home Secretary Anil Goswami, in the case of Kataria, it was the Private Secretary of the Home Secretary, who had rung up the Governor. Notice was also issued to Goswami.

The apex court on August 21, 2014, had referred the matter of Qureshi to five-judge constitution bench observing that interpretation of Article 156 (Term of office of Governor) was involved.

Kataria’s petition was also listed for hearing along with it as the identical issues were raised.

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