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Raj Bhawan on back foot

india Updated: Nov 15, 2006 01:22 IST
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IF SUPREME Court observations are any indication, the Allahabad High Court has had the last laugh in the Raj Bhawan-High Court standoff over the transfer and suspension of the Governor’s additional legal advisor Pradeep K Dubey.

The Supreme Court’s order has put the Raj Bhawan on the back foot. The Governor is 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 grounds that his services were needed at the Raj Bhawan till the Vidhan Sabha poll.

Asked to comment, both the Raj Bhawan and the HC maintained that a copy of the Supreme Court’s order was yet to be received.

“Now Dubey has to report at Ballia,” said a senior HC officer adding that Dubey had been given the option of making a representation before the court. There was no question of HC being vindictive towards any officer, he said.

There are enough hints to suggest that the Governor had decided on Dubey’s successor. The Raj Bhawan would soon send a communication to the HC informing it about the Governor’s choice. Interview to select the legal advisor was conducted at the Raj Bhawan on October 27.

Earlier, the Governor had contended that he should have say in transfer of officers posted in Raj Bhawan. The High Court, however, asserted that it had final authority on superintendence and control over officers of the State Judicial Service under Article 235 of the Constitution.

The 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 the 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 the whole controversy.”

As this failed to end the impasse, the HC moved an application urging SC to expeditiously hear the case.