Kohima, July 18 (IANS) The Kohima bench of Gauhati High Court on Tuesday upheld Nagaland Governor P.B. Acharya’s directive to Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu to prove his majority on the floor of the assembly.
Liezietsu had challenged Acharya’s decision asking him to obtain vote of confidence in the assembly before July 15 saying that it was “unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary and violative of the basic features of the Constitution”.
In his order, Justice Lanusungkum Jamir said: “It appears that the petitioner does not enjoy the support from the majority of the House and therefore, it is open to the governor to act at his own, without any aid and advice.”
Last week, Acharya had directed Liezietsu to prove his majority by July 15 after his predecessor T.R. Zeliang staked claim to form the new government with the support of 41 legislators in the 60-member assembly.
The court was of the considered opinion that the Governor had taken the right decision to ask Liezietsu to have a vote of confidence in the assembly to see which out of the two contesting claimants (Liezietsu and Zeliang) to chief ministership has a majority in the House.
“From the materials available on record, it appears that the Governor had reasons to believe that the petitioner (Liezietsu) and his council of ministers have lost the confidence of the House,” Jamir said.
The Court also rejected Liezietsu’s plea for sufficient time to obtain the vote of confidence on the floor of the House after the bye-election to be held on July 29, in which he is the party candidate.
However, the court did not fix any date for the floor test and left the matter for the Governor to decide on the same after proper application of mind.
On the other hand, the ruling Naga People’ Front government spokesperson, Yitachu said that they would appeal in the Supreme Court.
“We will surely appeal against today’s verdict in the Supreme Court. It is an internal matter within the NPF party and the matter should be resolve outside the floor of the House,” Yiatchu told IANS.
Asked if the Chief Minister would step down to pave way for Zeliang taking over, he ruled out Liezietsu’s resignation and asserted that he “will not allow these unconstitutional activities to take place in Nagaland”.
Zeliang said that he is prepared for the floor test. He is also confident of getting the support of four BJP legislators.
“The minority government headed by Liezietsu should be asked to step down honourably.
“I am prepared to get to the government through the democratic means of a floor test, so that the unity within the rank and file of the party is firmly secured,” he said.
The ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland coalition has 47 NPF legislators, four Bharatiya Janata Party members, and eight Independents.