Can Union Government suspend state governments under the garb of Corona?

June 06 2020

It appears that Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s ‘reign’ is not going down well with former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, and hence when the opportunity presents itself he complains about Uddhav to BJP top leadership and Sangh. The latest developments related to MLC election in Maharashtra made Fadnavis believe that if Uddhav does not get elected to the MLC he will have to vacate the position. However, Thackeray junior spoke directly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and soon the notification for the same was issued in a haste and Uddhav was chosen to the legislative council. If sources are to be believed, after this ‘crushing loss’ Fadnavis suggested to the top BJP leadership that after few cosmetic changes, the 123-year-old Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 can be enforced in Maharashtra, West Bengal and Delhi where Corona is spreading at a fast pace. Fadnavis hinted that the union government, taking the support of the Act, could render the state government’s powerless and take the charge of running the states. After this, the legal experts were consulted and it was found that the central government can not take over the complete rights of the states but it can only take steps to stop the spread which means that the centre would be able to take only health-related policy decisions. Suspecting some ‘threat’ the Delhi government quickly enforced Delhi Epidemic Act 2020 and Maharashtra government enforced Covid-19 Regulation 2020. as such, there is a possibility that if any state government does not enforce the Epidemic Act properly then the Central government can suspend the state government. But this ‘possibility’ is marred with legal ‘entanglements’.

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