Supreme Court constitutional bench will hear the matter arising out of political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh where the incumbent Congress-led government was voted out by the opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs in a ‘special’ assembly in Itanagar last month. The developments in the north-east state had earlier added to the political contours in the national capital with Congress party raising the protest inside the Parliament during Winter session in December.
Taking up the pleas filed by Arunachal MLA Nabam Rebia, who was allegedly removed by 14 rebel Congress and BJP MLAs from the post of Speaker, the Deputy speaker and Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa, the Supreme Court referred the matter to the Constitution bench.
A bench comprising Justices JS Khehar and C Nagappan noted the matter pertained to constitutional provisions on the rights of the Governor, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker and hence needed to be decided by a larger bench.
In a dramatic political development last month, 20 rebel MLAs of the ruling Congress party, along with 11 of the opposition BJP and two independent MLAs had ‘impeached’ Speaker Nabam Rebia in a make-shift “Assembly” premises in a community hall. The total of 33 MLAs of the 60-member house had then elected the dissident Congress lawmaker Kalikho Pul as the new Chief Minister of the state.
Another contention was the notification issued by Governor JP Rajkhowa advancing the Assembly session to December 16 from the scheduled day of January 24, 2016, which was opposed by the state government. The Congress-ruled state government had claimed that Governor’s order was in contradiction to Article 174 read with Article 163 of the Constitution of India and Rules 3 and 3A of the Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business of the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
Those decisions of the Governor and Deputy Speaker (rebel MLA) were challenged by Rebia in the Gauhati High Court, which had then posted the case for next hearing on February 1, 2016.
Earlier, sitting Chief Minister Nabam Tuki wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi late seeking their intervention.
Congress party too approached President Pranab Mukherjee accusing the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre of attempting to “oust” the Congress regime in the state. The delegation was led by party chief Sonia Gandhi.
(With inputs from the PTI)