New Delhi: The Congress on Monday challenged in the Supreme Court the union cabinet’s decision to impose president’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh.
The cabinet on Sunday approved president’s rule in the northeastern state following the recommendation of Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa.
Petitioner Rajesh Tacho, chief whip of Congress Legislature Party in Arunachal Pradesh assembly, assailed the governor’s report for imposing president’s rule, its acceptance by the cabinet and subsequent recommendation to the president.
The petitioner said the report was based on “non-existent facts” and there was no breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the state.
“The governor’s report for imposition of president’s rule, its acceptance by the cabinet and subsequent recommendation to the president is based on non-existent facts, actuated by malice in law and facts and there exists no constitutional breakdown which necessitates imposition of the president’s rule,” the petitioner said.
“It has been the continuous attempt of the governor to pull down the democratically elected government in Arunachal Pradesh,” he added in his plea.
Recounting the sequence of events from November 19, 2015, when 13 Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs supported by two Independents wrote to Rajkhowa to seek the removal of Speaker Nabam Rebia to the advancing of the assembly session to December 16 and the proceedings before the Guwahati High Court, Tacho said that having failed in their attempt to dislodge a democratically elected government, “now a circuitous route of President’s Rule is being used”.
“Given the facts and circumstances, there is no power or jurisdiction to either invoke the provisions of Article 356 of the constitution and/or dissolve and/or suspend the assembly,” the petitioner said.
While the governor was engaged in the exercise of recommending the imposition of President’s rule in Arunachal Pradesh, he held it back both from the high court and the apex court where hearing on petitions by the aggrieved parties were taking place, the Congress leader said.
The petitioner said it was the governor who sought hearing in the matter by a constitution bench as the matter before the apex court involved “important constitutional issues”.
An apex court bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice C. Nagappan, while referring to the Arunachal assembly imbroglio to the constitution bench, said on January 14: ” Harish N. Salve, the learned senior counsel representing the governor of Arunachal Pradesh, expresses the view that important constitutional issues arise in this case, and as such, the matter should be placed before a constitution bench in terms of Article 145 (3) of the constitution of India. We tentatively concur with the view expressed by the learned senior counsel.”