Arunachal Crisis: SC rejects Congress’ plea seeking floor test in State Assembly
The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the plea of Congress leaders seeking an interim direction that it be allowed to go in for a floor test in the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly to prove majority.
“This may be a possible manner of dealing with the issue, but the matter is still pending before us and we have not yet tendered our decision,” a five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice JS Khehar said.
The observation of the bench, also comprising Justices Dipak Misra, MB Lokur, PC Ghose and NV Ramana, came on an oral plea of senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, representing Congress leaders of the state, that the party enjoyed majority and a direction be issued for holding floor test in the assembly.
Sibal said, “we have suspected all this (alleged bid to revoke President’s Rule and install a new government). We have told our apprehensions to the court and now all that are coming true.
“We may agree with you and may not agree with you in the case. But if we agree with you, then everyone knows what will happen. Nobody will take that chance,” the bench said while referring to the apprehension regarding the formation of a new government in the crisis-ridden state.
Sibal raised another apprehension, asking what would happen if the Centre and Governor JP Rajkhowa swear in a new Chief Minister and go on to dissolve the House to ensure that power remains in their hand till snap polls are held.
“Soon after swearing in of a new government, they will dissolve the House and exercise control through a care-taker government,” Sibal said, urging that now some order should be given in the case as they have concluded the arguments.
The apex court, however, declined this request too and said that members of the bench may have different view points and an order will be pronounced only after all arguments are concluded.
The court had on Thursday vacated its interim order to maintain status quo in Arunachal Pradesh assembly, which could pave the way for government formation by rebel Congress MLAs with the support of BJP lawmakers.
Referring to the Gauhati High Court order staying the disqualification of 14 rebel MLAs, the apex court had said “it does not call for any interference”.
Congress party, which has 47 MLAs seats in the 60-member assembly, suffered a jolt when 21 of its lawmakers rebelled. Eleven BJP MLAs backed the rebels in the bid to upstage the government. Later, 14 rebel Congress MLAs were disqualified.
The bench is hearing a batch of pleas on the constitutional powers of Governors, besides those relating to disqualification of the legislators.
Hours after the Union Cabinet had decided to recommend revocation of President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh, the apex court had on 17 February ordered maintenance of status quo in the politically fragile state till it examined judicial and assembly records on disqualification of the 14 rebel Congress MLAs by former Speaker Nabam Rebia.
On 16 February, the court had refused to pass an interim order on a plea of Congress leaders that Arunchal Pradesh Governor Rakhowa be restrained from swearing in a new government in Arunachal Pradesh.