NEW DELHI, Jan 7 - The Supreme Court today asked Nabam Rebia, allegedly removed by 14 rebel Congress and BJP MLAs from the post of Arunachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker, to establish the maintainability of his petition challenging dismissal of one of his pleas by the Gauhati High Court.
�How can you challenge it? This is an administrative order which you are assailing in SLP under Article 136 of the Constitution. You (Kapil Sibal) argue on maintainability,� a bench comprising Justices JS Khehar and C Nagappan said.
�Tomorrow is the last working day (in the High Court) before the vacation. A democratically elected government will be out,� Rebia�s counsel Sibal said, adding that either this court or a division bench of the High Court should hear the matter.
�How can you say as to what is coming,� asked the bench.
Rebia, who has challenged in the Gauhati High Court various decisions of the Governor and Deputy Speaker, including his removal from the Speaker�s post, alleged that the Acting Chief Justice of the High Court �erroneously rejected� his plea, filed on judicial side, in administrative capacity. He had sought recusal of Justice BK Sharma from hearing his plea.
At the outset, the bench suggested to both parties that it may �request� the Acting Chief Justice to set up a division bench to hear the matter and the two judges, mentioned in the petition, will not be part of the new bench.
A battery of senior lawyers, including AK Desai, L Nageshwar Rao and Vikas Singh, representing Deputy Speaker and political opponents of Rebia, opposed it.
They said nobody was alleging anything against the Judge concerned and the setting up of a new bench cannot be done as the Acting Chief Justice of the High Court was the �master of the roaster� who was well within his rights to assign judicial work to a particular bench.
The bench then asked Sibal to establish that Rebia�s plea before it is maintainable.
Rebia was removed from the post of the Speaker by 14 rebel Congress MLAs, disqualified by the Speaker, and BJP MLAs on December 16 in an Assembly session presided over by the Deputy Speaker in a community hall in Itanagar.
The Deputy Speaker, before removing Rebia from the Speaker�s post, had also quashed the disqualification of the rebel Congress legislators.
Later, various decisions of the Governor and the Deputy Speaker were challenged by Rebia in the Gauhati High Court, which passed an interim order keeping in abeyance the decisions of Governor and Deputy Speaker till February 1.
Rebia has now moved the apex court alleging that he had filed an interim application on the judicial side by seeking recusal of Justice BK Sharma from hearing his plea in the High Court.
However, the Acting Chief Justice, on January 4, �has erroneously rejected the Petitioner�s recusal application� which should have been decided by Justice BK Sharma, whose recusal was sought, Rebia said in his petition.
�Whether the Hon�ble Acting Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court committed an error by passing an administrative order on an application which was moved on the judicial side (as an interim application) for being listed before Justice BK Sharma?