There appears to be no immediate end in sight to the ongoing political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh as the Supreme Court on Thursday referred to a constitution bench petitions filed by rival parties against various orders passed by the Gauhati high court.
Noting that the matter related to constitutional provisions on the rights of the governor, the speaker and deputy speaker, a bench headed by Justice JS Khehar said it needed to be decided by a larger bench.
The counsel for speaker Nabam Rebia who was allegedly removed by 14 rebel Congress and BJP MLAs, the deputy speaker and the governor agreed with the suggestion that the matter should be heard by a five-judge constitution bench. Rebia had disqualified the MLAs on December 15 last year, a day before the assembly session governor JP Rajkhowa had summoned.
As the bench talked of referring the issue to a larger bench, senior lawyers FS Nariman, Kapil Sibal and Harish Salve and others representing various parties rushed to Chief Justice of India TS Thakur’s bench. They demanded urgent setting up of the constitution bench, saying the matter needed to be decided at the earliest. The CJI said an early decision would be taken.
The top court on Wednesday ordered that the state assembly would not be convened till January 18 and allowed Rebia to take back his plea against an administrative order of Gauhati high court acting chief justice BK Sharma. Rebia alleged that Sharma had “erroneously rejected” his plea, filed on the judicial side, in administrative capacity.
A week after staying the disqualification of 14 Arunachal Pradesh Congress MLAs, the Gauhati high court on Wednesday vacated an interim order that kept in abeyance the state’s assembly session from December 16-18 last year. The ruling was seen as a blow to Arunachal Pradesh CM Nabam Tuki who has the support of only 26 MLAs in the 60-member house.