The Delhi High Court on Wednesday expressed hope that the Chief Minister of Delhi upholds the trust reposed in him that forms the foundation of a representative democracy while appointing persons to lead the people.
The court’s observation came while passing a judgement dismissing a Public Interest Litigation that sought direction on suspension of Satyender Jain as a Cabinet minister of Delhi in the wake of his arrest in a money laundering case.
The Division Bench of Justice Satish Chander Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad on Wednesday said, “This court wholeheartedly agrees with the observations of Dr. 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.”
It is pertinent to note at this juncture that while it is not for the Court to issue directions to the Chief Minister, it is the duty of the Court to remind these key duty holders about their role with regard to upholding the tenets of our Constitution.
The Chief Minister exercises his/her discretion in choosing the Members of Cabinet and formulating a policy pertaining to the appointment of the Council of Ministers.
The Council of Ministers has a collective responsibility to sustain and uphold the integrity of the Constitution of India, and it is for the Chief Minister to act in the best interest of the state and consider whether a person who has a 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 also said that good governance is only in the hands of good people. Even though the Court cannot sit in judgment 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.
As Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the father of the Indian Constitution had stated during the Constituent Assembly “…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…”
The Court was hearing a petition filed under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India for issuance of direction to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi for initiating appropriate proceedings for suspension of Health Minister of Delhi Satyender Jain, who has been in custody since May 30.
The petition stated that Satyender Jain, who has been in custody has been enjoying all the perks and privileges of a Cabinet Minister, despite facing allegations of serious financial irregularities, and that this is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India in as much as a Government Servant, who is in custody for more than 48 hours, is to be put under deemed suspension as per the practice which is being followed relating to the Public/Government Servants in terms of Rule 10 of the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control & Appeal) Rules, 1965 (hereinafter referred to as “CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965”). It is stated that Satyender Jain has also committed a breach of oath and he cannot be permitted to hold the office as a minister.