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New Delhi, July 28 – The Supreme Court on Thursday appointed senior counsel Ashok Desai as amicus curiae in the hearing of a petition by the Uttar Pradesh government contesting the Allahabad High Court’s decision to refer to a larger bench the question whether orders passed on behalf of the Chief Minister by his principal secretary or secretary were lawful.
The bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman asked Desai to assist the court in the matter in which the Uttar Pradesh government is contesting the plea that it was impermissible for the principal secretary/secretary to the Chief Minister to issue order or communicate decisions under their signatures with a note saying approved by the Chief Minister.
The Uttar Pradesh government has challenged May 28, 2014 decision of the Allahabad High Court referring to a larger three judge bench the validity of the decision issued in the file on behalf of the Chief Minister under the signature of his principal secretary/secretary.
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had asked the three judge bench to examine the question whether the practice wherein instead of the Chief Minister, his Principal Secretary/Secretary appended their signatures on the file with a note Chief Minister has approved was contrary to the Rules of Business framed under Article 166 (3) of Constitution.
It further asked the larger bench to examine whether such a decision will not be treated to be duly authenticated in terms of the Rules of Business.
The Division bench of the High Court had framed the questions to be examined by the three judge bench after the hearing of a PIL by one Nutan Thakur contended that the prevailing practice was not permissible under the Rules of Business and contrary to constitutional provision.
Nutan Thakur had moved the Allahabad High Court seeking direction that under the Rules of Business it was the Chief Minister alone who was competent to sign the files.
PIL petitioner had contended that orders/decisions issued under the signature of the principal secretary/secretary were impermissible under the Rules of Business and hence, it is contrary to the provisions of Article 166 (2) and (3) of the Constitution.
It was further contended by Thakur that such a practice amounted to an oral decision which is not permissible under the Rules of Business and hence, was contrary to the provisions of Article 166 (2) and (3).