Justice Nagarathna on Demonetisation: I Had To Dissent

Justice BV Nagarathna law insider

Published on: March 31, 2024 at 11:59 IST

In a keynote address at the fifth edition of the Courts and the Constitution Conference, Supreme Court Judge BV Nagarathna highlighted concerning instances of gubernatorial overreach, cautioning against prolonged inaction on bills passed by elected legislatures. Referring to the Punjab Governor case and the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly case, Justice Nagarathna emphasized the need for governors to discharge their duties in accordance with the constitution.

She expressed discomfort with the trend of governors’ actions being scrutinized by constitutional courts, stressing the seriousness of the gubernatorial post. Justice Nagarathna asserted that governors must be reminded to fulfill their constitutional duties, rather than being directed on what to do, stating, “a time has come where they would be now told to discharge their duties as per the Constitution.”

Her remarks follow recent criticism of Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi’s refusal to reinduct DMK leader K Ponmudi as a minister, voiced by a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud.

Additionally, Justice Nagarathna addressed her dissent on the demonetization case, expressing skepticism about the government’s move in 2016. She questioned the efficacy of demonetization, noting that a large majority of the demonetized currency returned to the system, potentially whitewashing unaccounted cash.

The conference also featured addresses from Justices Sapana Pradhan Malla of the Supreme Court of Nepal and Syed Mansoor Ali Shah of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, along with contributions from Telangana High Court Chief Justice Alok Aradh and NALSAR Chancellor Justice S Ravindra Bhat.

The discussions underscored the importance of upholding constitutional principles and ensuring the proper functioning of governmental institutions within the framework of the law.

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