SC declines two Arunachal lawmakers’ plea

New Delhi, Feb 9 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea by two former rebel Congress lawmakers in Arunachal Pradesh challenging acceptance of their resignations by Speaker Nabam Rebia on October 1, 2015, 15 days after they had signed it.

Declining to interfere with January 12 order of Gauhati High Court upholding the speaker’s decision to accept the resignations of Wanglam Sawin and Gabriel D. Wangsu, a bench of Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel asked them why they kept silent for 15 long days before the resignations were accepted.

“Be careful you don’t sign in future,” the bench said, as it dismissed the plea, being unimpressed by submission by senior counsel L. Nageshwar Rao, appearing for the lawmakers, that resignations should be seen in the context of power struggle going on within the Congress in the northeastern state.

Rao argued that the resignations were not given of their free will and were obtained under duress. He said he was not denying his clients had signed the letters but sought the circumstances under which they gave the signatures has to be looked into as there were “sufficient reasons to create doubt” about them.

He said that the language of the two resignation letters is identical and was not in the prescribed format as provided under the rules. The reasons for the resignation are “moral grounds”, not able to rise to the “expectation” of the electorate and that the resignation is “irrevocable”, he noted.

“Could a resignation be irrevocable, denying its author right to withdraw it,” Rao asked, contending that the speaker should have gone into the circumstances under which they were tendered.

But the court wasn’t persuaded.

“Could there be a law that if a resignation (letter) has to be accepted, (the speaker must) entertain a doubt, go behind it (circumstances of the resignation) and inquire,” the bench asked Rao.

Telling Rao that one can understand if it was the case of a group D employee, the court said “the fact remain is that it is his (Sawin) signature” and the signature, the duration (from its signing and acceptance) and (absence) of objection could not be overlooked.

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