The Allahabad High Court has filed a plea in the Supreme Court urging it to expedite hearing on a central government's petition challenging its earlier verdict in a case involving the Uttar Pradesh Governor TV Rajeswar’s additional legal advisor Pradeep Dubey.
Dubey, who had been suspended by the high court for refusing to obey its transfer orders, continues to work as additional legal advisor in Raj Bhawan, as the governor has refused to relieve him.
The high court's latest move has given a new twist to the standoff between Raj Bhawan and the high court. The Supreme Court is expected to take up the high court's application next week.
After hearing the Centre's petition on June 28, the apex court had directed the Allahabad High Court not to proceed further in the case. It had also referred the matter to the Chief Justice of India for placing the case before a larger bench in view of important questions of law raised therein.
What course of action would Raj Bhawan now adopt is the obvious question doing the rounds in the corridors of power in the state?
According to a senior officer, the governor was in principle not opposed to relieving Dubey, but not as a suspended officer. Raj Bhawan's stand it that Dubey’s suspension should be revoked and he be posted at Lucknow where he was initially transferred before being shifted to Ballia, the officer added.
In its June hearing, the apex court had also observed that there was a communication gap between the two constitutional bodies.
“The governor should have invited the Chief Justice for dinner and sorted out the issue,” the Supreme Court had observed. “Had I been the Chief Justice (of the High Court), I would have invited the governor for tea to sort out the issue."
Earlier, a piquant situation had arisen as Raj Bhawan maintained that the governor had the final authority with regard to officers posted in Raj Bhawan, while the high court asserted that it had final control over judicial officers.
Raj Bhawan then requested the court to forward a panel of three officers to enable the governor to select Dubey’s successor.
Significantly, the court had recently forwarded a panel of judicial officers to Raj Bhawan but the latter that for more details about the officers. The governor has not interviewed the judicial officers so far.
Raj Bhawan has obviously delayed interviews. It has stuck to its stand despite the fact that a five-judge-bench of Allahabad High Court had ordered that all communications, orders and letters emanating from governor's secretariat regarding relieving and suspension of Dubey be treated as otiose, ineffective and inoperative.
Seeking to end the unfolding crisis in the state, the Union Home Secretary filed a Special Leave Petition before the apex court on the issue.