‘CM to consider…’: Delhi HC on plea to dismiss Satyendar Jain (Ld)

Dismissing a plea to suspend the cabinet post of arrested Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday noted that it is not the Court but the Chief Minister who is to act in the best interest of the state and consider whether a person who has criminal background should be allowed to continue as a Minister or not.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad was hearing the plea by petitioner former BJP legislator Nand Kishore Garg who has pointed out that Jain, a public servant having a constitutional oath to uphold the rule of law in the interest of the public, is arrested over his alleged role in hawala transactions.

“The Chief Minister exercises his/her discretion in choosing the Members of Cabinet and to formulate a policy pertaining to appointment of Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers has a collective responsibility to sustain and uphold integrity of the Constitution of India, and it is for the Chief Minister to act in the best interest of the state and consider as to whether a person who has criminal background and/or has been charged with offences involving moral turpitude should be appointed and should be allowed to continue as a Minister or not,” the bench said in the order.

The court observed that good governance is only in the hands of good people.

“Even though the Court cannot sit in judgement of what is good or bad, it certainly can remind constitutional functionaries to preserve, protect and promote the ethos of our Constitution. There is a presumption that the Chief Minister would be well advised and guided by such constitutional principles,” the order added.

It further referred B.R. Ambedkar, the Father of the Indian Constitution,who had stated during the Constituent Assembly debates: “…however, good a Constitution may be, it is sure to turn out bad because those who are called to work it, happen to be a bad lot. However bad a Constitution may be, it may turn out to be good if those who are called to work it, happen to be a good lot. The working of Constitution does not depend wholly upon the nature of the Constitution.”

“This court wholeheartedly agrees with the observations of B.R. Ambedkar, and hopes that the Chief Minister upholds the trust reposed in him that forms the foundation of a representative democracy while appointing persons to lead the people,” the order added.

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