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Punjab Governor duty-bound to call budget session; CM duty-bound to provide info: SC

The Punjab Governor had a duty to call the state cabinet’s suggested budget session as soon as possible, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday, while also making it abundantly clear that the Chief Minister had a similar duty to provide the Governor with the requested information.

A bench spearheaded by CJI DY Chandrachud detailed, “Under Article 167(b) of the Constitution, when the Governor asks you to furnish information – you’re duty bound to furnish it to him. Ask one of your secretaries to respond. At the same time, Mr SG, once the cabinet says budget session has to be convened, he is duty bound.”

“There must be in our public discourse, a certain constitutional discourse. We may belong to different political parties, office the Governor is not from a party, but we have to have a constitutional discourse,” the bench added further.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta detailed in front of the Supreme Court bench, which also included Justice PS Narasimha, during the hearing that Punjab Governor Banwari Lal Purohit had called the House on Tuesday for a budget session, making the AAP Government’s petition infructuous.

The Bench ruled that the Governor cannot use his own judgment in this situation and must follow the guidance and recommendations of the Cabinet, adding that the Governor was just obligated by the advice provided to him by the state cabinet regarding his decision to seek legal guidance over calling a budget session.

However, the SC ruling was not entirely in AAP’s favour, the bench did not mince its words while stressing the fact that Punjab CM Bhagwant Maan was also duty-bound to furnish information requested by the Governor.

“In the backdrop of the aforesaid communication, the governor while responding to the request by the cabinet for summoning the Budget Session or Vidhan Sabha from 3 March stated that- since your tweet and letter are patently unconstitutional,” the apex court ruled, condemning the tweets and letters sent out by CM Mann.

The decision was, however, readily welcomed by CM Mann who took to Twitter on Wednesday to thank the apex court for its decision, tweeting,” Thanks for the historic decision of the honourable Supreme Court to save the existence of democracy in Punjab…now the voice of 3 crore Punjabis ‘Vidhan Sabha session’ will go on without any hindrance.”

Punjab CM Bhagwant MannPunjab Givernor Baniwarilal PurohitSC