Gauhati High Court stays ‘rebel’ Arunachal Assembly decisions

Updated - August 31, 2016 12:00 pm IST

Published - December 17, 2015 08:52 pm IST - Itanagar

File photo of rebel Congress MLA Kalikho Pul who was elected "Chief Minister" by 33 Arunachal Pradesh legislators in Itanagar on Thursday.

File photo of rebel Congress MLA Kalikho Pul who was elected "Chief Minister" by 33 Arunachal Pradesh legislators in Itanagar on Thursday.

In a bizarre turn of events, Opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs on Thursday got together in a local hotel to “vote out” Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and to “elect” a rebel Congress MLA in his place but the Gauhati High Court intervened to keep in “abeyance” decisions taken at the rebel “session“.

Coming down heavily on Governor J.P. Rajkhowa, the High Court kept in abeyance all decisions taken by the State “Assembly” on Wednesday in which it “removed” Speaker Nabam Rebia.

The court order came on a writ petition filed by the Speaker challenging the December 9, 2015 notification issued by the Governor advancing the Assembly session to December 16 from the scheduled day of January 24, 2016.

The dramatic political development came a day the rebel MLAs “impeached” Mr. Rebia in a make-shift “Assembly” premises in a community hall.

Eleven BJP MLAs and two Independent MLAs joined hands with 20 Congress rebels to meet at a conference hall of a hotel here as the Assembly premises have been sealed since Wednesday.

On Thursday, a “no confidence” motion moved by BJP MLAs and Independent MLAs was “adopted” with Deputy Speaker T. Norbu Thongdok, who is also a rebel Congressman, in the Chair.

A total 33 members of the 60-member house, including 20 dissident Congress MLAs, later “elected” another dissident Congressman Kalikho Pul as the new “Chief Minister” of the State.

The Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and his 26 supporting MLAs boycotted the proceedings terming them as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

The Chief Minister later wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking their intervention to “uphold” the Constitution in the face of the “unprecedented murder” of democracy and “bypassing” of a democratically-elected government by Governor Rajkhowa.

Angry over the Governor’s action in calling a session of the Assembly bypassing the government the Congress has paralysed the Rajya Sabha for the last two days.

In the High Court, Justice Hrishikesh Roy observed prima facie that the exercise undertaken by the Governor advancing the Assembly session to December 16, 2015 is in “violation of Article 174 and 175 of the Constitution.

The two Articles relate to Sessions of the State legislature and the right of the Governor to address and send messages to the House.

Issuing notice, Justice Hrishikesh Roy kept in abeyance the impugned decisions including the notification issued by the Deputy Speaker restoring the membership of 14 suspended MLAs and the holding of the “session” at a new place and also the decision taken at the “session” yesterday in which the Speaker was removed.

The judge allowed petitioner Kapil Sibal to implead the government of Arunachal Pradesh as a party respondent.

The judge posted the case for next hearing on February 1, 2016.

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