In an appeal, the Andhra Pradesh government said that under the constitutional framework, it is not for the courts to decide as to whether there is a constitutional breakdown in a state.

Supreme Court in the background where in people are roaming randomlyFile Photo
news Courts Friday, December 18, 2020 - 18:51

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed an order by the Andhra Pradesh High Court to enquire if there was a ‘breakdown of constitutional machinery’ in the state. A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, during the hearing, remarked that he had not come across any order like this before and termed it "very disturbing". In an appeal, the Andhra Pradesh government said that under the constitutional framework, it is not for the courts to decide as to whether there is a constitutional breakdown in a state.

"It is needless to mention that the constitutional courts do not have any judicially discoverable and manageable standards to determine if there has been a constitutional breakdown in the state,” the Andhra Pradesh government's plea filed through advocate Mahfooz Ahsan Nazki stated.

The High Court order had sought response from the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government on whether there is a situation of ‘constitutional breakdown’ in the state. The High Court on October 1, while hearing 14 Habeas Corpus petitions filed by detained individuals, had asked the state's counsel to come prepared to assist the court to establish if it could record a finding on whether there is constitutional breakdown in the state or not.

The Andhra Pradesh government moved the top court challenging this order. The state government contended that the order impinges the doctrine of separation of powers since it is the President of India who is empowered to go into question of ‘breakdown of constitutional machinery’ under Article 356 of the Constitution and not the judiciary.

The Supreme Court stayed the Andhra Pradesh High Court order, with the CJI asking, “As the apex court, we find this order disturbing. Has anybody seen an order like this before?” Further hearing of the case will be taken up after vacations.

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