SC order status quo in Arunachal Pradesh

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New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered status quo in Arunachal Pradesh as its summoned original records pertaining to the disqualification of 14 legislators by the then speaker Nabam Rebia in December 2015.

The status quo order effectively forestalled revocation of the president’s rule and, for now, no new government can be sworn in.

The constitution bench headed by the Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, while directing the parties to the litigation before it to maintain “status quo”, asked its secretary general to facilitate the “implementation of the instant order” seeking original records relating to the disqualification of 14 rebel Congress lawmakers before 10.30 a.m. on Thursday.

“In the meantime, the parties before this court shall maintain status quo. For further consideration,” said the court as it directed the listing of the matter on Thursday.

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Referring to the post lunch proceedings, the constitution bench that also comprises Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh and Justice N.V. Ramana, in its order, said: “We are of the view, that it is essential to peruse the original record pertaining to the disqualification of the 14 MLAs.”

The “record pertaining to the proceedings conducted by the Speaker – Nabam Rebia – under the Xth Schedule of the Constitution pertaining to the disqualification of the 14 MLAs, held on December 14 and 15, 2015, be produced in this court in a sealed cover at the earliest, preferably by 10.30 a.m. on February 18, 2016, by the secretary of the state legislative assembly, in whose official custody, we are informed, the original record is available”.

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The bench further said that “some part of the above record, is also in the safe custody of the Gauhati High Court, and has been retained in a sealed cover”.

The court directed that the registrar general of the Gauhati High Court to “ensure, that the sealed record pertaining to the disqualification of the 14 MLAs, assailed, is produced in this Court at the earliest, preferably by 10.30 a.m. on February 18, 2016”.

The court order came after in the post lunch session, senior counsel Fali Nariman told the court that efforts were on to install a new government by revoking the president’s rule wherein 14 MLAs who were disqualified would be counted for the purposes of majority support in the government formation.

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He said the high court had, by an interim order, stayed their disqualification and the same order is in challenge before the apex court, and argued till the court decides on their fate, they could not be counted for the purpose of forming the new government.

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