Kohima, July 14 (IANS) The Kohima bench of the Gauhati High Court on Friday stayed, till July 17, the floor test for the Naga People’s Front-led coalition government headed by Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu till.
Governor P.B. Acharya had directed Liezietsu to prove his majority by July 15 after former Chief Minister T.R Zeliang staked claim to form the new government with the support of 41 legislators in the 60-member assembly.
Hearing Liezietsu’s writ petition, Justice L.S.Lima said: “Considering the ratio laid down by the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Nabam Rebia and Bamang Felix (supra), this court is of the tentative opinion at this stage that an interim (order) is called for.”
The court stayed the governor’s order, after Speaker Imtiwapang Aier’s counsel N. Longkumer prayed for some time to enable him to receive instruction, and listed the matter for the next hearing on Monday next.
In his petition, Liezietsu argued that the Governor’s decision asking him to conduct a floor test on or before July 15 was “ex facie unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary and violative of the basic features of the Constitution”.
Contending the by-election to the Northern Angami-I constituency (in which Liezietsu is contesting) is already under process, he said: “It was “imperative and incumbent upon the Governor to call upon the petitioner to prove its majority on the floor of the House only pursuant to the by-elections wherein the petitioner is a candidate.”
Liezietsu held that Acharya’s decision has “virtually sought to strangulate the will of the Council of Ministers and have used the office of the Governor to suit his political needs”.
“The decision of the Governor is completely tainted with arbitrariness, malafide, partisanship and has been taken in an extremely hasty manner on July 13 to pre-empt any staking of claim by the Petitioner. As such, it is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution,” he said in his petition.
Earlier, Liezietsu accompanied by his ministers drove down to meet Acharya and briefed him on the state’s political situation.
According to a communique from the Chief Minister’s Office, the Governor told him “to bring about a reconciliation amongst the legislators”.
Kuzholuzo Nienu, the newly-elected Chairman of the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland’s Coordination Committee, emphatically told Acharya that the coalition is intact and that the present crisis is only within the Naga People’s Front party.
Meanwhile, the rebel NPF legislators led by Zeliang reached Kohima this afternoon after they were evacuated by boat from a flooded resort in Assam’s Kaziranga where they been camping since last week.
Zeliang said that he is prepared for the floor test. He is also confident of getting the support of four BJP legislators.
“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.