The Supreme Court today refused to pass an interim order on a plea of Congress leaders that Arunchal Pradesh Governor JP Rakhowa be restrained from swearing in a new government in the politically-fragile state which is now under President’s rule.
The five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice JS Khehar also declined the prayer of Congress leaders that status quo be maintained in the crisis-hit state and no new government formation be permitted.
“We have heard your arguments on injunction. We don’t propose to pass any order and we will hear the matter on merits,” the bench, also comprising justices Dipak Misra, MB Lokur, PC Ghose and NV Ramana, said.
“The decision of the constitutional authority can be annulled by the court, but this application is totally misconceived. Either today, or tomorrow, President’s Rule has to be revoked and the government has to be formed,” said Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, while opposing the application in which Congress leaders have expressed apprehension that the proclamation of central rule is likely to be withdrawn.
President’s Rule is yet to be affirmed by Parliament and whatever is the verdict of this court, the only answer will be the floor test, Mr Rohatgi replied.
“Whatever is the verdict of the court, the only answer will be floor test and the ultimate answer will be the floor test. Whether ‘A’ becomes the Chief Minister or ‘B’ becomes Chief Minister, it will be decided on the floor of the House,” he said.
The bench then told senior lawyers Fali S Nariman and Kapil Sibal, appearing for Arunachal Pradesh Congress leaders, that the only order, which it had deemed fit at this juncture, has been suggested and if these leaders do not accept it, then they should argue on merits.
During the hearing, Mr Sibal cited a purported press note, issued on behalf of the Governor and said, how can the Governor swear- in a person as the Chief Minister, a rebel Congress leader who has been disqualified from the House.
Mr Sibal sought an order to ensure that no new government is sworn-in in the state till the Supreme Court decides on the petitions.