SC lifts status quo order on Arunachal

Sibal had countered that when the President’s rule is withdrawn, the government earlier in power automatically revives.

February 18, 2016 05:05 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 02:08 am IST - NEW DELHI

The Supreme Court on Thursday lifted its order to maintain status quo in Arunachal Pradesh till it examined judicial and Assembly records on disqualification of 14 rebel Congress MLAs by former Speaker Nabam Rebia.

The lifting of status quo clears the road for Governor J.P. Rajkhowa to recommend to the President for withdrawal of emergency in the State and further a move for the swearing in of a new government, senior advocate Satya Pal Jain, for the Governor, told the media on the consequences of Thursday’s order.

Mr. Jain said the 14 disqualified MLAS have every right to vote in the House as their disqualification had been stayed by the Gauhati High Court. It was against this stay that Mr. Rebia and Arunachal Congress leaders had moved the Supreme Court.

Dissident Congress leader Kalikho Pul, one of the 14 disqualified MLAs, can now stake a claim to form the new government with his majority of 32 MLAs in the presently 58-strong House.

On Wednesday, the Constitution Bench led by Justice J.S. Khehar had shown the red signal despite a Union Cabinet recommendation for the withdrawal of President's rule in the border State.

Lifting its status quo order passed on Wednesday, the Bench said the High Court should hear the cases on the legality of their disqualification expeditiously. The MLAs, it said, would be bound by whatever decision the HC takes.

The Congress party had sought the apex court to restrain Governor Rajkhowa from swearing in a new government till the court decides the constitutionality of the President's rule imposed on January 26.

The Bench had on Tuesday refused to pass any order on the Congress plea even as the Centre gave a strong indication that it wanted withdrawal of the President's rule to swear in a new government under Mr. Pul who claims to have a majority of 32 MLAs, including 13 other Congress rebels.

The Centre had said that a constitutional vacuum and a state of “dormancy” cannot prevail in Arunachal Pradesh because the Supreme Court is testing the legality of the proclamation of emergency.

Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi had assured the Bench that even if a new government was formed, the Supreme Court could later on “annul everything” if it struck down the proclamation of emergency as unconstitutional.

Mr. Sibal had countered that when the President’s rule is withdrawn, the government earlier in power automatically revives.

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