SC to hear Cong, Tuki pleas against Arunachal emergency today

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 01, 2016 11:34 IST
Congress senior leaders Gulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, Mallikarjun Kharge and Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki (extreme right) after meeting President Pranab Mukherjee over the Arunachal emergency. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

The Supreme Court will take up petitions filed by the Congress as well as former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki, challenging the imposition of President’s rule in the northeastern state, on Monday afternoon.

A constitution bench headed by justice JS Khehar, which had termed the imposition of central rule as a “a serious issue” last week, is slated to take up the matter at 2 pm. It will peruse the governor’s report as well as the Centre’s response during the hearing.

The bench, also comprising justices Dipak Misra, MB Lokur, PC Ghose and NV Ramana, was of the view that no interim order could be issued unless the grounds for proclamation of President’s rule were known. “Unless we get the grounds for recommending President’s rule, we cannot proceed. If the grounds are not same in the proclamation, then it is a totally different ball game,” the bench had noted.

The NDA government had justified its action on Friday by alleging that the Congress was using the assistance of outlawed organisations to pressurise 34 legislators into withdrawing their support to rebel party leader Kalikho Pul – who was “elected” as the new chief minister in Tuki’s place.

In its affidavit filed before the Supreme Court in response to the Congress’ petition, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) had accused Tuki and the speaker of playing communal politics by inciting, provoking and funding students of a particular community as well as other communal organisations.

The MHA stated that Arunachal Pradesh was a strategic place in matters concerning security as well as mineral resources. “The state bears witness to recurrent insurgency as well as attempts by China to claim large parts of its territory… The entire state is therefore a very sensitive region, sharing a restive border with China. It is therefore imperative, and in the interests of the country, that the state remain socially, economically and politically stable,” the Centre stated, citing various instances that pointed to an alleged breakdown in the law-and-order situation.

“The chief minister has been encouraging indiscipline, lawlessness and politicking by government officials by inciting, provoking and funding an apex communal organisation of one community, mainly comprising government officials, to publicly organise demonstrations/rallies for recall/removal/resignation of the incumbent governor (sic),” read the affidavit, which also alleged that Tuki was heading a minority government.

Supporting governor JP Rajkhowa’s decision to bring the state under central rule, the MHA said he and his family were under constant threat to their lives. The entry of MLAs into the state assembly was also barred by ousted speaker Nabam Rebia, it added.

Stating that the governor had sent monthly reports from October to December 2015 as part of his constitutional duties, the MHA denied allegations that he made the recommendation after the Congress took the dissident MLAs to court.

The government said that the speaker had sealed the assembly premises instead of convening the session as directed by the governor, therefore “dishonouring the summons issued… under Article 174(1)”.

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