Decks cleared for revocation of President’s Rule in Arunachal

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New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the decks for the revocation of president’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh as it vacated its own order of status quo passed on Wednesday.

The central government on Wednesday held back its decision to revoke President’s Rule in the wake of the status quo order passed by the apex court. The revocation will allow formation of a new government likely to be headed by the rebel Congress leader Kalikho Pul in the border state.

The apex court constitution bench, headed by Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, vacated the status quo order after examining the original records relating to the proceedings leading to the disqualification of 14 rebel Congress lawmakers and finding that the notice informing them about their intended disqualification was neither served on them nor pasted on their premises.

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As senior counsel Fali Nariman appearing for former speaker Nabam Rebia told the court that entries in the peon book would establish that notices were sent to the 14, Justice Dipak Misra, of the bench, said: “If we take entry in peon book and accept that notice was sent, that will be catastrophic.”

Vacating its status quo order, the court asked the Gauhati High Court to hear the plea, pending before it, against the disqualification of 14 rebel Congress lawmakers.

The court had summoned the original records on Wednesday which reached the apex court.

“Having seen the original records we are not inclined to interfere with the interim order (passed by the Gauhati High Court on January 7, staying the disqualification of 14 MLAs),” the apex court said in its order.

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The high court’s January 7 interim order had come on the petition by the then deputy speaker T. Norbu Thongdok.

Refusing to interfere with the high court order, the constitution bench, which also comprised Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh and Justice N.V. Ramana directed that a division bench (comprising two judges) of the high court would hear the disqualification matter from February 22 and conclude the hearing in two weeks.

The court said that “any action (including the formation of new government) taken in the meantime would be subject to the outcome of the matter before the high court”.

Prior to the passing of the order, Nariman told the court that under assembly rules there was no requirement of issuing notice, but senior counsel R. Dwivedi told the court that there are provisions that mandates the issuance of notice and affording a reasonable opportunity to those lawmakers whose membership is sought to be terminated under anti-defection law.

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