The Supreme Court, on 14 January 2016, referred, to the Constitution bench, the Arunachal Pradesh assembly imbroglio involving the fate of the Nabam Tuki-led Congress government and the role of Governor J.P. Rajkhowa in the handling of the situation triggered by rebel ruling party lawmakers.
A bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice C. Nagappan referred the matter to the constitution bench as senior counsel Harish Salve urged the court that the matter being dealt by it involved important issues of constitutional law and the powers of the governor and as such, be referred to the constitution bench. [Also see: SC asks not to convene Arunachal Pradesh Assembly till January 18.]
As the bench did so, senior counsel Fali Nariman, appearing for Assembly Speaker Nabam Rebia, allegedly ousted by the rebel Congress lawmakers with the support of Bharatiya Janata Party lawmakers, mentioned the matter before the court of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur seeking an early hearing by the constitution bench.
Urging the Chief Justice to constitute a bench for hearing of their plea at an early date, Nariman said the hearing had to be before January 21 as there can’t be a gap of more than six months between two assembly sessions.
Senior counsel Kapil Sibal also told the court that if the matter was not heard early, then the assembly would be convened and the government may fall. He said that the Deputy Speaker Tenzing Norbu was against Rebia.
Upon the mentioning, Chief Justice Thakur said that he would take a decision only after the papers relating to the order passed by the bench of Justice Khehar and Justice Nagappan are placed before him.
Norbu had reversed the decision of Rebia disqualifying 14 Congress MLAs. Rebia was on December 16 ousted as the speaker at an assembly session held in a community hall in Itanagar and attended by the rebel Congress and BJP lawmakers.
The apex court had on Wednesday asked Governor Rajkhowa not to convene the assembly session till January 18 as it was seized of the matter.
“We are satisfied, that it would be just and appropriate, if proceedings of the assembly are not held from now onwards till January 18, 2016,” it said and sought its orders be placed before the governor.