Kohima, July 18 (IANS) The Gauhati High Court’s Kohima bench on Tuesday upheld Nagaland Governor P.B. Acharya’s directive to Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu to prove his majority in the assembly, following which Acharya sought an special session on Wednesday for the floor test.
Justice Lanusungkum Jamir, who also dismissed Liezietsu’s writ petition challenging the Governor’s directive, noted “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”.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, it 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.
Hours after the ruling, Acharya asked Speaker Imtiwapang Aier to convene to summon an emergent special session of the assembly on Wednesday for Liezietsu to prove his majority.
“Consequent to the dismissal of writ petition filed by Liezietsu on July 14… now an emergent special session of the assembly be summoned to meet on July 19 at 9.30 a.m. to test the majority support of Liezietsu,” he said.
In his letter, the Governor also asked Aier that “the report of the proceedings/resolutions of the House may be communicated to me forthwith and the House shall be adjourned sine dine after conclusion of the business (vote of confidence)”.
Acharya also directed the Speaker to issue necessary notice to the Chief Minister and members of the House the by email and other emergent process admissible under the procedures immediately as well as over telephone.
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 his predecessor T. R. Zeliang to return to power, he ruled out Liezietsu’s resignation and asserted “we will not allow these unconstitutional activities to take place in Nagaland”.
Meanwhile, Zeliang called for the “minority government headed by Liezietsu” to 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.
In the 60-member assembly one seat is vacant. The ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland coalition has 47 NPF legislators, four Bharatiya Janata Party members, and eight Independents.
The rebellion within the legislature party erupted accusing Liezietsu of indulging in “nepotism” by appointing his son Khriehu Liezietsu as his advisor with cabinet status and pay.
Liezietsu, who is also the NPF president, was sworn in as Chief Minister on February 22 after Zeliang resigned following violent protest by tribal groups who were opposed to his move to hold civic polls with 33 per cent reservation for women.