SC passes stay on HC’s “disturbing” order to analyse constitutional breakdown in Andhra Pradesh

Anushka Mansharamani

The Andhra Pradesh High Court had sought a response from the Andhra Pradesh government on whether there is a situation of a constitutional breakdown taking place in the state.

On 18th December, the Supreme Court observed this as a disturbing situation after proceeding with the stay order.

On 1st October, while hearing 14 habeas corpus petitions filed, the Andhra Pradesh High Court directed the counsel representing the state to help the court understand the situation in Andhra Pradesh and whether it was going through a constitutional breakdown.

However, the Andhra Pradesh government appealed to the Apex Court, challenging the direction sought by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, stating that it infringes the doctrine of separation of powers.

As per Article 356, the question of the “breakdown of Constitutional machinery” can be brought up by the president and not the judiciary as it comes under the executive powers.

Furthermore, the AP government submitted that “this is a power exclusively vested in the Executive and cannot be exercised by the Judiciary.”

The plea filed by the Andhra Pradesh government explicitly stated that under the constitutional framework, the court does not have the right to question whether there is a constitutional breakdown in the State.

The plea further stated that the state government had applied to the High Court to recall the order, but it was not recalled.

The appeal emphasized that the question by the High Court is unprecedented and violates the basic structure of the constitution of India.

YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, wrote to CJI SA Bhobde, alleging that the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N Chandrababu Naidu, is influencing the Andhra Pradesh High Court to destabilize the government.

The letter further alleged that the sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India was also a part of this conspiracy against the Andhra Pradesh government.