"I had to dissent": Justice Nagarathna on demonetisation judgment

05:08 PM Mar 31, 2024 | PTI |

New Delhi: Supreme Court Judge BV Nagarathna has cautioned against instances of governors sitting indefinitely on bills passed by elected legislatures, referring to the case involving the Punjab Governor.


In her keynote address at the inaugural session of the fifth edition of Courts and the Constitution Conference, held at the NALSAR University of Law here on Saturday, Justice Nagarathna spoke about the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly case as another instance of gubernatorial overreach, where the governor lacked sufficient material to declare the floor test.

“This is not a healthy trend under the Constitution to bring the actions or omissions of the Governor of a state for consideration before constitutional courts,” she said.

“I think I must appeal that the office of a governor, though it is called a gubernatorial post, the governor’s post is a serious constitutional post, the governors must discharge their duties under the constitution in accordance with the Constitution so that this kind of litigation before the law courts is reduced,” Justice Nagarathna added.

She said it was quite embarrassing for the governors to be told to do or not to do a thing.


So, a time has come where they would be now told to discharge their duties as per the Constitution, she said.

Justice Nagarthna’s comments came days after a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud expressed “serious concern” over the conduct of Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi for his refusal to reinduct DMK leader K Ponmudi as a minister in the state cabinet.

Justice Nagarathna also spoke on her dissent on the demonetisation case.

She said she had to dissent against the move by the central government as in 2016, when the decision was announced, the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes comprised 86 per cent of the total currency notes in circulation, and 98 per cent of it came back after they were banned.

In October 2016, the Indian government demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes, purportedly in a blow against the black money.

“I thought it was a way of converting money into white money by this demonetisation because firstly, 86 per cent of the currency was demonetised and 98 per cent of the currency came back and became white money. All the unaccounted money went back to the bank.

“Therefore, I thought it was a good way of getting unaccounted cash accounted. Therefore, this common man’s predicament really stirred me. Therefore, I had to dissent,” the judge said.

The conference heard addresses from judges of the Supreme Courts of Nepal and Pakistan Justices Sapana Pradhan Malla and Syed Mansoor Ali Shah.

Telangana High Court Chief Justice Alok Aradh and NALSAR Chancellor Justice S Ravindra Bhat also spoke at the conference, a press release from NALSAR said.


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