The advocates general of Punjab and Haryana on Friday expressed divergent views on applicability of Supreme Court answering presidential reference on Satluj- Yamuna canal.
Talking to reporters, Punjab advocate general, Ashok Aggarwal said that reference had been answered by Supreme Court in its advisory capacity. “It is not binding on the President to accept it. He can accept, reject or seek a fresh opinion from the Supreme Court on presidential reference answered in a matter,” he said. Aggarwal, however, could not cite any precedent but said, “There have been very few presidential references made since Independence. I can give details after checking it. But do not remember off hand,” he said.
Aggarwal further said that a team had been formed by Punjab government, which included him as well, to examine the “opinion”. “We shall start examining it today and may be able to tell our view by tomorrow (Saturday) evening. But all I can say now is that we have more than one options before us,” he said. One apparent reference was of review petition, but he did not elaborate on other options.
A few retired judges of Supreme Court and Punjab and Haryana high court and former advocate general of Punjab, Harbhagwan Singh had told the Hindustan Times on Thursday that presidential reference was binding on President of India and could not be rejected.
The Haryana adovate general, BR Mahajan told reporters that presidential reference answered by the constitutional bench of Supreme Court was binding on President or governments. “This argument was even raised during the hearings. It is binding(on all parties). There is no escape route,” he said adding that a petition was pending before the two judges bench of Supreme Court on the issue, which would now automatically get revived with this development.