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Calcutta HC dismisses plea seeking removal of WB Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

West Bengal: The Calcutta high court on Friday,February 18, dismissed a writ petition filed by an advocate to remove Jagdeep Dhankhar as the governor of West Bengal.The petition, filed by advocate Ramaprasad Sarkar on February 8, had sought the court’s direction to the central government regarding Dhankar’s removal claiming the latter is acting as the mouthpiece of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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Earlier, the Court had reserved judgment in the matter and had also observed orally, “We will consider and pass an order. Apparently we are of the view that such a petition cannot be maintained”.

Bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajrashi Bharadwaj on Friday placed reliance on Article 361 of the Constitution which stipulates that a Governor cannot be made answerable to any Court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office or for any act done or purporting to be done by him in the exercise and performance of those powers and duties. The Bench also referred to Article 156 of the Constitution which states that the Governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the President for a term of five years.

Accordingly, the Bench observed that pursuant to Article 361 of the Constitution, there is a complete bar on the issue of notice to the Governor in anny Court proceeding. It was further opined that such immunity granted to the Governor can only be interfered with in a case where personal malafide has been proven. Dismissing the PIL, the Court underscored that it is not satisfied with the material placed on record and thus ruled that there is no ground to issue any directions that have been prayed for. The Bench however refused to impose any costs upon the petitioner.

In his petition, Sarkar had said Dhankhar is interfering in the functioning of the state and maligning the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government with his critical comments.

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The petitioner had submitted that Dhankhar is “acting as the mouthpiece of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)”.

He said Dhankhar was bypassing the state council of ministers and dictating officials directly, in “violation of the Constitution”.

He said the Union government was not acting against Dhankhar “as the present governor is serving the political interest of the central government”.

On February 15, Dhankhar, who has had frequent run-ins with the TMC government over several issues ever since taking charge in 2019, urged Banerjee to visit him at the Raj Bhavan during the week to discuss several issues to avert a “constitutional stalemate”.

Two days later, he requested Banerjee to provide information sought by him on various issues at the earliest, adding that his queries have not been responded to.

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