SC defuses row over Dera case

Updated on Aug 22, 2007 03:35 AM IST

The SC has averted a constitutional crisis arising out of a face-off between Chandigarh Administrator General SF Rodrigues and Punjab and Haryana HC, reports Satya Prakash.

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HT Image
Hindustan Times | BySatya Prakash, New Delhi

The Supreme Court has averted a constitutional crisis arising out of a face-off between Chandigarh Administrator General SF Rodrigues and Punjab and Haryana High Court over the latter’s direction to him to file a personal affidavit in the Dera Sacha Sauda case.

A bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan stayed the High Court’s July 19, 2007 order to General Rodrigues after counsel Kamini Jaiswal mentioned the Chandigarh Administration’s special leave petition against the controversial order. The court will now hear the case on August 27, 2007.

In its appeal, the Chandigarh Administration has pointed out that under Article 361 of the Constitution, Rodrigues, who is ex-officio Administrator of Union Territory of Chandigarh, enjoyed immunity and as a constitutional authority he could not be directed to file a personal affidavit. It further said that a communication between an advocate and his client was a ‘privileged communication’ under the law and no adverse inference could be drawn from its non-disclosure.

Thirdly, it said that all the relevant information sought by the high court had already been furnished by the Home Secretary of the Administration.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Vijender Jain had directed the Administrator to file a personal affidavit after rejecting an affidavit filed by the Home Secretary explaining the stand taken by Senior Standing Counsel Anupam Gupta that the court did not have jurisdiction to entertain a Dera devotee’s petition seeking an direction to maintain law and order in the wake of anti-Dera agitation by the Akali supporters. Akalis were agitating over Dera Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s act of dressing like Guru Gobind Singh.

In fact the High Court had in May 2007 asked Gupta to file a personal affidavit explaining his stand that the court ought not have entertained the petition as under the principle of separation of powers law and order was to be exclusively dealt with by the Executive.

Quota case

The anti-quota petitioners on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that Government should desist from tilting the balance in the society on grounds of caste and religion while extending the policy of reservation.

"If the government tilts the balance between the citizens on suspect grounds of castes, religion, creed, gender, its the duty of the court to see that the rule of equality does not get imperiled," Senior advocate Harish Salve said before a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan.

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