If the Supreme Court's observations give any indication the Allahabad High Court has had the last laugh in the Raj Bhawan-High Court standoff over transfer and suspension of the Governor's Additional Legal Advisor Pradeep K Dubey.
The Supreme Court's order has left the Raj Bhawan on the back foot. The Governor has been now left with no option but to relieve Dubey. The Allahabad High Court had transferred Dubey as Additional District Judge Ballia and subsequently placed him under suspension for non-compliance of transfer orders.
The Governor had refused to relieve Dubey on the grounds that the services of his additional legal advisor were needed in Raj Bhawan at least till the Vidhan Sabha polls.
Asked to comment both the Raj Bhawan and the High Court maintained that a copy of Supreme Court's order was yet to be received. “Now Dubey has to report at Ballia,” said a senior officer of the High Court adding that Dubey has been given the option of making a representation before the HC and his representation would be considered. There was no question of HC being vindictive towards any officer, he said.
There are already signals that Governor has decided the name of Dubey's successor. The Raj Bhawan would soon send a communication to High Court informing about name of officer whom the Governor had selected as his new Legal Advisor following interviews conducted at Raj Bhawan on October 27, 2006.
Earlier the Governor had contended that he should have the say in transfer of officers posted in Raj Bhawan. The High Court however asserted it had final authority on superintendence and control over officers of state judicial service under Article 235 of the Constitution.
A standoff had continued between the two constitutional functionaries as both the sides refused to budge. Later the Allahabad High Court constituted a five-judge bench ordering that all the communication, orders and letters emanating from Raj Bhawan with regard to relieving and suspension of PK Dubey be treated as otiose, ineffective and inoperative. The HC had also asked the Principal Secretary to Governor Luv Verma to appear before it on July 4, 2006 along with record of Dubey.
At this point the Centre came to rescue of Raj Bhawan and the Union Home Secretary filed an SLP before the Supreme Court challenging the Allahabad High Court's order on Dubey issue. Asking the HC not to proceed further in the case the SC had observed, “The pendency of this matter before the Supreme Court would not prevent the Governor and Allahabad High Court Chief Justice from resolving the issue to give a quietus to whole controversy.”
As this failed to end the impasse, the HC moved an application urging the SC to expeditiously hear the case.