Supreme Court of India has dismissed a PIL filed by Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma for curtailing the powers of the Ministers of the Government of India, contending that they can issue directions or policies other than those allowed under Articles 74, 77 and 78 of the Constitution of India.
The PIL petition filed by ML Sharma on 11 August 2015, sought the following prayer:
“declare that constitution does not recognize any minister/ministers having any authority to issue any direction/policy other than prescribed under Art. 74, 77 & 78, etc.
Petition had also arrayed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as a respondent.
||Writ Petition (Crl) No. 153 of 2015
||Manohar Lal Sharma, Advocate v. Reserve Bank of India & Ors.
||CJI HL Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy
||7 September 2015
Old Petition also dismissed
Interestingly, a PIL petition filed by ML Sharma – Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 211 of 2014, was dismissed on 18 December 2014 by the Supreme Court bench of CJI HL Dattu and Justices AK Sikri and RK Agrawal with a liberty to approach the High Court. Court had then ordered:
Shri Manohar Lal Sharma, petitioner appearing in person, on instructions, seeks permission of this Court to withdraw this petition with liberty to approach the High Court by filing appropriate petition for appropriate relief(s).
Permission sought for is granted.
The writ petition is disposed of as withdrawn with liberty to the petitioner to approach the HighCourt by filing appropriate petition for appropriat erelief(s).
Fresh cause of action, claims ML Sharma
However ML Sharma claimed that a fresh cause of action had arisen to decide “constitutional question and law with regards to the policy statement issued by Respondent No. 5 (Finance Minister Arun Jaitley)” on 27 July 2015.
ML Sharma probably referred to the statement of the Finance Minister on 27 July when he had said that the Government will not take any “knee-jerk” reaction that will adversely impact country’s investment climate, after the SIT report on black money suggested stricter norms for P-Notes.
ML Sharma claimed that the Ministers of the Government of India can issue directions and policy orders only under the powers entrusted upon them under art 74, 77 and 78 etc of the Constitution of India.
Article 74 – Council of Ministers to aid and advise President
Article 77 – Conduct of business of the Government of India
Article 78 – Duties of Prime Minister as respects the furnishing of information to the President, etc.
Allowed to file PILs on 19 July, after an apology
On 1 May 2015, Supreme Court had issued notice to ML Sharma asking “why he should not be debarred from filing and/or canvassing any Public Interest Litigation on account of the irresponsible and scandalous allegations levelled by him”. Later on 10 July 2015, Court had accepted the unconditional apology of Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma and has allowed him to file Public Interest Litigation petitions with certain checks.