HOURS AFTER the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, recommended revocation of President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered “status quo” in the matter and sought examination of the records on disqualification of 14 rebel Congress MLAs by former Speaker Nabam Rebia.
Passing the interim order, a Constitution Bench led by Justice J S Khehar said “the parties before this court shall maintain status quo”, and asked the Secretary of the State Legislative Assembly to produce on Thursday morning original records relating to disqualification of the 14 dissident MLAs. The Bench also directed the Registrar General of the Gauhati High Court to ensure that the sealed records are produced in the court “preferably by 10:30 am”.
The court order restrained the central government from revoking President’s Rule, and paving the way for formation of a new government in the state. The dissidents’ faction, led by former finance minister Kalikho Pul, has already met Governor J P Rajkhowa and staked claim to form the new government. The Union Cabinet’s recommendation is currently with the President.
The Constitution Bench issued the order when the counsel for the Congress leaders pointed out that legal issues pertaining to disqualification of the 14 MLAs were fundamental questions that should be decided first. The lawyers said that if President’s Rule was revoked and these MLAs were allowed to be part of the new government, despite having been disqualified by the former Speaker, the issue would be rendered infructuous. An interim restraint order was therefore sought to ensure the question of their disqualification was decided first.
The Bench took a break of 15 minutes and, when it reassembled, it ordered “status quo” while seeking all records of the assembly as well as the high court regarding the disqualification of the MLAs.
“We are of the view that it is essential to peruse the original records pertaining to the disqualification of the 14 MLAs. The secretary general of this court shall facilitate the implementation of the instant order,” said the bench, fixing the matter for further hearing on Thursday.
Twenty-one days after President’s Rule was imposed in Arunachal Pradesh and Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s government was dismissed, the dissident Congress faction led by Pul had on Monday met Rajkhowa and staked claim to form the government.
While Pul, along with 18 other dissidents, submitted a memorandum to Rajkhowa staking claim to form the government, another group of five Congress MLAs led by former minister Chowna Mein also submitted a memorandum extending support to Pul. The 11-member BJP legislature party and two Independent MLAs also pledged support to Pul.
‘Supporting Cong rebels to stop loot of funds’
Guwahati: The BJP was supporting the dissident group of Congress legislators in Arunachal Pradesh in forming a government to safeguard democracy and stop loot of funds meant for development, BJP’s Arunachal unit chief Tai Tagak said Wednesday. “It is our duty to stop people from looting funds… meant for implementation of development projects,” he said. ENS