NEW DELHI, Feb 18: Arunachal Pradesh may soon see a new government headed by a rebel Congress MLA backed by BJP and independent legislators as the Supreme Court on Thursday vacated its interim stay on revocation of President's rule recommended by the Centre.
Hours after the Union cabinet recommended revocation of President's Rule, the apex court had on Wednesday ordered for status quo after state Congress leaders questioned Gauhati high court order staying disqualification of its 14 rebel MLAs.
Out of total strength of 60 in the assembly, 31 MLAs of Arunachal Pradesh led by Congress dissident Kalikho Pul had called on governor JP Rajkhowa on Monday to stake claim for forming the next government, prompting the governor to recommend revocation of President's rule. Pul claimed to have backing of 19 rebel Congress MLAs, 11 BJP legislators and two independent members
A five judge constitution bench of Justices JS Khehar, Dipak Misra, Madan B Lokur, PC Ghose and NV Ramana examined all the documents pertaining to disqualification of rebel Congress MLAs and came to the conclusion that there was noting wrong in HC order. The bench said that prima facie it was satisfied that notices were not served before disqualifying the legislators which was against the rules of natural justice.
"Having seen the original record, which was sent to us by the registrar general of the high court of Gauhati, we are satisfied that the interim order passed by the high court dated January 7 calls for no interference at this stage. Accordingly, the interim order passed on Wednesday is vacated," the bench said.
A batch of senior advocates comprising Fali S Nariman, Ram Jethmalani and Kapil Sibal pleaded the court that they should be heard before the court vacates its interim order but the bench was not impressed saying that the documents itself spoke volumes and there was no need to hear them.
"The order of interim injunction passed by the court has a far reaching consequences and normally court does not pass such order. The order cannot continue and after going through the records we have to modify our order," the bench said and asked the HC to decide the case on merit pertaining to disqualification of MLAs preferably within two weeks.
Nariman contended that the rebel MLAs refused to take accept notice, compelling the Speaker to disqualify them. He said the entry in peon book clearly showed that notices were sent to them. The bench, however, was not convinced and said that it would be "catastrophic" if peon book entry was accepted as a proof for issuing notice to them.
The bench had on Wednesday directed secretary general of Arunachal Pradesh assembly and registrar general of Gauhati high court to place all the original records on the disqualification of MLAs for its examination after Congress leaders raised question on how can MLAs, who were disqualified by the Speaker, claim to form the government.