Suspense over Central rule in Arunachal Pradesh

PTI12_13_2015_000058A President Pranab Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday asked questions about the need to bring Arunachal Pradesh under Central rule, a decision that was challenged by the Congress in the Supreme Court which will hear the case on Wednesday.

Suspense mounted a day after the Cabinet decided to impose the President's rule with Mukherjee calling Home Minister Rajnath Singh when he is believed to have raised some queries on the urgency over the action, especially when the apex court was seized of the matter.

The President is also said to be considering seeking legal opinion before taking a final call.

In the evening a delegation of Congress leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge and Kapil Sibal submitted a memorandum in which the party said that this is for the first time that a decision to impose President's rule has been taken in the midst of a court hearing.

The party also enclosed a "summary of events" detailing the "disquieting events leading to the Governor's illegal actions".

"The Constitution is being trampled upon. Just two days before the Republic day, the Union Cabinet is taking such a decision. We will fight an all-out war. We will fight in Parliament, in court and along with people. Will tell them how democracy is being endangered", Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters.

Sibal, a noted lawyer, said it was "shocking" that the Arunachal Governor had recommended President's rule in the state in spite of an assurance by his lawyer in the Supreme Court that "no precipitate action" would be taken.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court decided to hear on January 27 the Congress plea challenging the Cabinet decision.

The petition seeking urgent hearing was mentioned before Chief Justice T. S. Thakur, at his residence, who directed the matter to be listed for hearing on Wednesday.

"The matter was placed before the CJI. He has listed for hearing on January 27," Virendra Kumar, Deputy Registrar told

PTI. He said listing branch of Registry will allocate the matter before an appropriate bench. Already, a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice J. S. Khehar is examining the scope of discretionary powers of the Governor under constitution, vis-a-vis the authority to convene assembly session with or without the aid and advise of the Chief Minister and his council of ministers.

The fresh plea, filed by Rajesh Tacho, Chief Whip of Congress Legislature party, alleged that "illegal and unlawful" attempts have been made by the Centre and Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa to topple the Nabam Tuki government.

The Governor's recommendation in the present case is to promote "political interests of party in power at the Centre," the Congress petition finally settled by noted jurist Fali S. Nariman said.

The Congress has sought a direction for the Centre and the Governor to furnish records pertaining to his recommendation for President's Rule in the state.

"There is absolutely no material justifying the action under Article 356 of the Constitution of India except the personal ipse dixit (unsupported assertion) of the Respondent No.2 (Rajkhowa) who has abused the Office of the Governor by acting as an agent and the mouth piece of the Central Government," it said.

It has sought restoration of the Nabam Tuki government along with his Council of Ministers to office by "reviving and reactivating" the 6th Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

The Cabinet decision came under attack from most of opposition parties which accused the Centre of "murdering" democracy.

BJP spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi strongly defended the Centre's action saying the political crisis in Arunachal Pradesh was because of internal conflict of the Congress.

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