Supreme Court advises PM not to induct chargesheeted persons as Ministers

The Supreme Court has advised the Prime Minister or Chief Minister of a State not to appoint chargesheeted persons facing trial for offences involving moral turpitude as Ministers. Although there was no such condition mentioned in the Constitution of India which debars any Member of Parliament or Legislative Assembly being included in the Cabinet, the court said the Prime Minister as the trustee of the Constitution was expected to act in consonance with constitutional propriety and not appoint unwarranted persons as Ministers.

Justice Dipak Misra is his judgment observed “Article 75 of the Constitution does not contain any limitation as to who can or cannot be included in the Council of Ministers” and therefore no new disqualification could be added to prevent charge sheeted persons from being appointed as Ministers.

The five-member Bench headed by Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha observed that criminalization of politics destroyed people’s faith in democracy and persons, howsoever, high he/she might be could not be exempted from equal treatment. It held that constitutional morality, good governance and constitutional trust expected good sense from the PM and it should be left to his wisdom not to recommend any person with criminal charges from being inducted as a Minister.

The court also said that many things could not be said in the Constitution, but the Constitution could not however be expected to operate in a vacuum. The PM should act in the interest of national polity and avoid unwarranted persons facing criminal charges to reinstate people’s faith in democracy.

The Court declined to add a new disqualification in the Constitution for appointment as Ministers, saying it was the prerogative of the PM or the CM of a State to induct Ministers of his/her choice.

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