Two days after Arunachal Pradesh governor JP Rajkhowa allegedly got the winter session of the state assembly preponed and placed a motion seeking removal of the incumbent Speaker, the state cabinet on Friday evening resolved to seek legal opinion on whether the governor could summon an assembly session without the advice of the cabinet.
A press release issued in Itanagar said the state cabinet headed by chief minister Nabam Tuki on Friday evening took “serious note” of the December 9 order purportedly issued by governor Rajkhowa re-scheduling the state assembly session from January 14 to December 16, and resolved to seek legal opinion on it.
“The Cabinet has taken serious note of the said Order and the Message. This Order and Message raise important constitutional issues regarding functioning of the State Legislature and government as well as role of His Excellency the Governor. The cabinet also noted that since the establishment of State Assembly in Arunachal Pradesh, there has not been any precedence or occasion that the house has been summoned by the Governor without the advice of Cabinet,” an official press release issued in Itanagar said.
The cabinet also resolved to take legal opinion on four issues: (i) Whether there was any provision in the Constitution which empowers a governor to pre-pone a legislative assembly‘s session? (ii) Whether a governor is empowered under Article 174(1) of the Constitution to pre-pone an Assembly session without consulting the chief minister and council of ministers? (iii) Whether the governor’s order of December 9 was contrary to the mandate of Rule 3 Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business? And (iv) Whether a governor can issue a message under article 175(2) of the Constitution of India fixing ‘Resolution for removal of Speaker’ as first item of business, bypassing the Business Advisory Committee of the state legislature?
Meanwhile, the Itanagar Raj Bhavan in a press release said that the governor had taken opinion from legal experts including the state’s additional advocate general, several advocates of High Court and Supreme Court, and other legal experts in parliamentary functioning as well as Constitutional experts before taking the decision.
The Raj Bhavan also said that the December 9 order for tabling a resolution seeking the Speaker’s removal was issued under the first proviso to article 179(c) of the Constitution of India. “It has been judicially held in Nipamacha Singh and Others Vs. Secretary, Manipur Legislative Assembly and Others. In view of the above judicial order, it is a Constitutional obligation on the part of the Governor to ensure that the resolution for removal of the Speaker is expeditiously placed before the Legislative Assembly,” the Raj Bhavan press release said.
It also said that not following of the Constitution by the governor, when he is supposed to be obliged, would send wrong a message to the people, particularly those who had move the notice.