Governor Cannot Dismiss a Minister Without CM’s Recommendation, Says Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said the Governor of a state has to act on the recommendation of the council of ministers and cannot dismiss a minister without the CM’s recommendation.

A Supreme Court Bench led by Justice AS Oka dismissed an appeal against the Madras High Court’s order refusing to entertain a petition seeking the sacking of V Senthil Balaji as a minister in the Tamil Nadu Government following his arrest by ED in a money laundering case.

“Prima facie, the high court is right that the Governor could not have dismissed the minister. The Governor has to act on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers. After having heard the petitioner in person and perusing the impugned judgment of the high court, we concur with the view taken by the high court,” the Bench said.

“If the Governor chooses to ‘withdraw his pleasure’ in respect of a minister, he must exercise his discretion with the knowledge of the Chief Minister and not unilaterally. In the present case, the Chief Minister had never consented for the exercise of discretion by the Governor,” the Bench added.

The ED arrested Balaji on June 14, 2023 in a money laundering case related to a cash-for-jobs scam when he was the Transport Minister in the AIADMK government.

Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi had in June 2023 “dismissed” Balaji from the Council of Ministers “with immediate effect”. When his decision faced flak, the Governor informed Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin that he wanted to keep his decision in abeyance.

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