NEW DELHI, July 13 - In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court on Wednesday restored the Nabam Tuki-led Congress Government in Arunachal Pradesh.
A five-judge Constitution Bench, in a unanimous and unprecedented verdict, quashed all the decisions of Governor JP Rajkhowa that had led to imposition of the President�s Rule in the state, calling his actions as �illegal� and violation of the constitutional provisions.
The bench held that status quo ante as prevailing on December 15, 2015 � when Nabam Tuki headed the Congress Government in the state � shall be restored. With this the disqualification of the 14 MLAs have been upheld.
The constitution bench headed by Justice JS Khehar directed the restoration of the status quo as it existed on December 15, 2015, directed the manner in which the Assembly proceedings had to be conducted and set aside all the steps and decisions the House had taken, describing them as unsustainable.
Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Madan B Lokur pronounced concurring judgements giving their additional reasons to agree with Justice Khehar.
The bench of apex court pronounced the verdict on a bunch of petitions dealing with discretionary powers of Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa to summon or advance the Assembly session.
Following the decisions by Governor JP Rajkhowa, the Assembly session was preponed, a new Speaker was elected and later based on his report, and the President�s rule was imposed. Even as the top court was hearing the matter, the proclamation was lifted and rebel Congress leader Kalikho Pul was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the new government.
On December 16, the Nabam Tuki Government was dismissed in an Assembly session called by Governor JP Rajkhowa. The court said, �All decisions taken by the Arunachal Assembly after December 9 are quashed and unsustainable.�
The Supreme Court, turned the clock back to the December 15 status quo in Arunachal Pradesh, when the Congress Government was still in power.
The Supreme Court bench had segregated two other sets of petitions, which were filed against the subsequent promulgation of President�s rule in the state and its revocation thereafter that had led to the formation of a new government.
Just before the apex court had reserved its verdict on February 20, rebel Congress leader Kalikho Pul was sworn in as the ninth chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh with the support of 18 dissident Congress MLAs and two independents and 11 BJP MLAs, who gave outside support.
The Congress party, which had 47 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly, suffered a jolt when 21 of its MLAs rebelled. Eleven BJP MLAs backed the rebels in the bid to upstage the government. Later, 14 rebel Congress MLAs were disqualified.
Meanwhile, Nabam Tuki has termed the verdict as historic. He said that with the verdict, democracy has been protected. Asked about his future course of action, Tuki said he will consult party legislators and the decision will be taken as per the court order and party ideology.
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the Centre will abide by the Supreme Court verdict on Arunachal Pradesh. He said that the Centre has no role in it and acted on the Governor�s report. BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said that the BJP does not need lesson from the Congress party.
Reacting to the Supreme Court verdict on Arunachal Pradesh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said those who trampled upon constitutional propriety and democratic norms have been defeated. She said her party will continue its fight to strengthen democracy and safeguard federal structure.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi welcomed the judgement. �Thank you Supreme Court for explaining to the Prime Minister what democracy is,� tweeted Rahul Gandhi.