The Supreme Court on Wednesday (13 January) asked the Arunachal Pradesh governor not to convene the assembly session till January 18 as it was hearing a plea by Speaker Nabam Rebia challenging his ouster and the administrative decision of the high court to change the bench hearing his matter.
Referring to the submissions by counsel appearing for Rebia and his opponent deputy speaker and others, the bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice C. Nagappan said: “We are satisfied that it would be just and appropriate if proceedings of the assembly are not held from now onwards till January 18.”
The court said the order should be placed by the parties before the governor for his consideration.
The court order came as it noted that both the sides — petitioner Rebia and respondent deputy speaker and others — agree on the “seriousness” of the issue and its immediate consideration.
Counsel Fali Nariman told the court that the matters raise important constitutional issues and should be addressed by the court without any further delay.
Nariman said “implementation of any of the orders, in the meantime, would seriously prejudice the rights of the parties”.
The court order came as Nariman, appearing for Rebia, said that if the assembly session was convened on Thursday as expected, then it had to work according to the agenda set by the governor and this would result in the removal of the speaker and the passing of the no-confidence motion against the government.
The court said that “in terms of the Rules of Procedure, the assembly cannot, in any eventuality, be convened without a prior notice of two weeks, and as such, there is no question of any assembly meeting, from now onwards till January 18.”
Rebia was removed as speaker by 14 rebel Congress legislators backed by BJP lawmakers on December 16 in an assembly session held in a community hall in Itanagar that was presided over by the deputy speaker.
The 14 MLAs were earlier disqualified by Rebia.
The deputy speaker, before moving the motion removing Rebia as speaker, had restored the membership of 14 MLAs.