In a landmark judgement on August 27, a five-member Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court observed that it is not the prerogative of the Apex Court to disqualify ministers facing criminal charges, a NEW release here said. Putting the ball in Prime Minister’s court, the SC held that it is the collective responsibility of the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers to keep those people against whom charges have been framed in criminal and corruption cases, out of their Cabinet. Ideal tenets of polity observed in the judgement
1. Disqualification of Minsters is not Court’s prerogative: Interpreting Article 75(1), the Supreme Court said that disqualification of Ministers cannot be added to the responsibility of Court as it is the constitutional prerogative of those functionaries who are called upon to preserve, protect, defend the organisation. Thus the court cannot issue any direction to PM and CMs as to the manner in which they should exercise their power while selecting their colleagues in the Council of Ministers.
2. Court’s duty is to remind PM, CMs about their role in working of constitution: The judgement said it is the bounden duty of the Court to remind the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of the State of their duty to act in accordance with the constitutional aspirations.
3. Scope and purpose of Articles 74, 75 and 164: Constitutional trust, constitutional morality and good governance are the three fundamental ingredients of Article 74, 75 and 164 and the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers are regarded as the repository of these three fundamental aspects.
Thus the office of the Prime Minister is expected to carry the burden of constitutional trust.