The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea of two rebel Congress MLAs of Arunachal Pradesh against a Gauhati High Court decision upholding the action of then Assembly Speaker Nabam Rebia to accept their resignations.
“The resignation letters bear your signatures and moreover, why did you (MLAs) keep quiet for almost 10 days (after resignation),” a bench comprising Justices A.R. Dave and Adarsh Kumar Goel said while rejecting the appeals of MLAs Wanglam Sawin and Gabriel D. Wangsu.
The bench did not concur with the submissions of senior advocate L. Nageshwar Rao, appearing for the two rebel MLAs, that the Speaker should have conducted an inquiry after he received their resignation letters, saying their letters are “irrevocable” as if they were executing a will.
“I have never seen such kind of resignation letters in my whole life where the maker cannot take it back. The language of the resignation letters warranted an inquiry by the Speaker. The letters were written under duress and coercion,” Mr. Rao said.
The apex court, however, said the letters bore their signatures and moreover, there was a delay in raising the issue before the Speaker.
“All this can be said when the letters do not bear your signatures. We do not know as to whether it was part of any political strategy,” the court said, adding “the Speaker cannot reject resignation letter without inquiry and no such inquiry is needed for accepting (them)”.
The senior lawyer then drew the attention of the bench on the contents of the letters and asked whether an MLA can write that he is resigning “irrevocably” as the letter said “I have not lived up to the expectations of my people and therefore don’t deserve to continue with this post and responsibility”.
The bench then remarked “Politicians can do anything”.
“After all, the politicians are also human beings,” Mr. Rao replied, adding that 17 rebel Congress MLAs were forced to write letters on September 16, 2015, at a legislature party meeting held at the behest of then Chief Minister Nabam Tuki.
As these two MLAs were “vocal” against the Chief Minister, the letters were sent to the Speaker, who happens to be the cousin of the chief minister, and they were accepted, he said, adding that this was part of the ongoing political battle in the crisis-hit State.