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Supreme Court�s notice to Centre

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Jan 27 - The Supreme Court today issued a notice to the Centre on the imposition of President�s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh. The Apex Court also directed the Centre to respond to its notice by January 29 and the case will come up for hearing on February 1.

The Constitution Bench comprises Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Madan B Lokur, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh and Justice NV Ramana. The notice has also been issued to Arunachal Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa.

The Supreme Court also gave liberty to petitioner, Congress chief whip in Arunachal Pradesh Rajesh Tacho to amend the plea to include �challenge to the Presidential proclamation�. The Court directed that the petitioner be provided with the date on which Governor Rajkhowa had sent the report recommending imposition of President�s Rule in the State.

Earlier, senior counsel Fali Nariman told the Court that ever since the last hearing of the matter on February 22, Arunachal Pradesh has been put under President�s Rule and two advisors have been appointed to assist the Governor in the running of the affairs of the State.

Seeking the date on which the Governor Rajkhowa had recommended the imposition of President�s Rule, Nariman told the Court that the senior counsel Harish Salve, who had appeared for the Governor, had told the Court on January 14 that nothing untoward would be done precipitating the situation.

Describing as �crucial� the date on which recommendation for placing the State under the President�s Rule was sent by the Governor Rajkhowa, senior counsel Kapil Sibal sought to know the grounds and material that was relied upon by the Governor while making the recommendations.

Opposing the plea, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that the Governor�s report was confidential and could not be shared with the petitioner. However, he said that it could be shared with the bench.

Justice Lokur confronted the Attorney General with an Apex Court judgment wherein the Governor�s report was reproduced.

The Presidential proclamation mentioned �a� report by the Governor, Justice Ramana pointed out as Rohatgi said that there were a series of reports by Governor Rajkhowa.

�Whatever is the worth of this petition by Rajesh Tacho, you reply. You may accept it or not...,� the Court observed as the Attorney General contested the very maintainability of the plea challenging the Cabinet decision to recommend the President�s Rule.

Contending that the Cabinet recommendation was immune from challenge, Rohatgi said that �unless there is an order, decree or a crystallised situation, you can�t challenge it�.

However, Justice Dipak Misra asked the Attorney General to accept the notice and reply. �You are right. But do file your reply on the petition for whatever it is worth, as we have already issued a notice,� Justice Misra said.

Earlier, in a dramatic move, the Supreme Court asked the office of the Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa to submit its report within 15 minutes on the basis of which the President�s Rule was imposed, dismissing the Nabam Tuki-led Congress Government in the State.

The Congress side then launched a counter-argument, demanding the Governor to share with them the date of his report recommending proclamation of President�s Rule.

The Governor has been a party in a bunch of petitions being heard by the Constitution Bench from January 13 to resolve the political turmoil in the State, which has seen the impeachment of the Assembly Speaker, legislative sessions held in community halls and a Raj Bhavan under attack for allegedly playing partisan.

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