HC to examine guv power to junk MLC names sent by government

HYDERABAD:

Telangana high court

said on Monday while hearing a row over nomination of two MLCs (governor’s quota) that it would examine in detail whether a governor has power under Article 171 (5) of the

Constitution

to reject names proposed by government.
A bench of Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice J Anil Kumar is hearing two petitions filed by the previous BRS govt’s two MLC nominees under governor’s quota, Dasoju Sravan and Kurra Satyanarayana, challenging governor Tamilisai Soundararajan’s rejection of their candidature on grounds of insufficient detail.

Subsequently, Congress had nominated Prof M Kodandaram and journalist Amer Ali Khan for the same two MLC seats and it was approved by the governor. However, the two are yet to take the oath and the HC has stayed their appointment till constitutional questions raised in the BRS nominees’ pleas are settled.
“On the one hand she (governor) says material on BRS nominees was insufficient. On the other hand she uses the same material to reject them. Rejection, too, must be backed by sufficient material. We will examine whether a governor has such rejection power under Article 171 (5). This provision does not give her such independent powers. She has to act in consonance with the aid and advice of the council of ministers,” the bench said.

Senior counsel Avinash Desai, appearing for Kodandaram and Khan, said while a governor was bound by Article 171 (5) to approve names of eminent people sent by the cabinet, she has discretion to examine constitutionality of the cabinet’s decision.
“While it’s true a governor cannot act like a super-constitutional entity, the same is true for the cabinet. The governor can always seek clarification & information about nominees. In the case of BRS nominees, even basic details were not there,” he said.

The bench, however, reminded him that the governor did not merely seek information but rejected their candidatures and even advised govt not to send such names again.
Claiming that her letter need not be seen as a rejection, Desai said: “Even if it is a rejection, state cabinet can always send the same names again with the details. But BRS cabinet never did that from Sept 2023 despite having ample time. Had BRS cabinet done that, maybe the governor would be under obligation to approve them. Even then she can use her discretion to see that the constitutional scheme is not violated.”
Earlier, senior counsel B Mayur Reddy, arguing for Kurra Satyanarayana, said his client was from a backward tribal group and had rendered valuable service in remote areas. “Politics is an extension of social service. Rejecting such a person citing his political affiliation is unfair. In fact, rejection looks more political,” he said. The bench posted the matter to Feb 14 for replies of BRS nominees.

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