IS IT RIGHT FOR A STATE GOVT. TO CHALLENGE A NATIONAL MANDATE?

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Supreme Court rebukes Mamata govt: How can a state challenge central law?

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court snubbed the West Bengal government on Monday for challenging the Aadhaar Act when the law had been duly passed by Parliament and said that chief minister Mamata Banerjee could seek remedy as a common citizen if she felt aggrieved.
The SC pulled up the state for taking the constitutionally impermissible route of filing a petition against the Parliament-enacted Aadhaar Act and asked, “How can the West Bengal government file a petition challenging the validity of the Aadhaar Act? An individual can file a petition but how can a state challenge the law enacted by Parliament? Let CM Mamata Banerjee file the petition in her individual capacity and we will hear her case.
This is a matter which needs examination, but how can a state file this petition?” “In a federal structure, how can a state take recourse to Article 32 (a provision of the Constitution that allows an individual to move the SC directly if her/his fundamental right is violated) to challenge a law framed by the Central government?” the bench asked.
Trinamool Congress MLA and party general-secretary Mohua Maitra then quickly filed a writ petition in the SC — as a private citizen — against the directive issued by banks to all account-holders making Aadhaar submission mandatory by December 31, failing which the accounts would be frozen.
Maitra also sought relief for new bank customers for whom Aadhaar submission is now mandatory.
While agreeing that the issue required scrutiny, the bench entertained another petition filed by advocate Raghav Tankha questioning a telecom department circular asking for Aadhaar-mobile phone linkage. The SC issued notice to the Centre and sought its response within four weeks.
When West Bengal’s petition was taken up, the bench asked senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for the state, to explain how it was maintainable.
Sibal’s answer, that he saw nothing wrong in a state government moving the SC to challenge the validity of a central law, failed to convince the court.

SOURCE – TIMES OF INDIA

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