New Delhi : The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce today its verdict on a batch of petitions dealing with discretionary powers of the Governor to summon or advance the assembly session of Arunachal Pradesh. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar, which had reserved its judgement on February 22, is scheduled to pronounce the judgement today.
The apex court had said the verdict in this case will not only have its effect on Arunachal Pradesh, but affect every state. The 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, which had led to the formation of a new government. It had fixed these pleas for hearing after pronouncement of verdict on petitions dealing with Governor’s discretionary powers in advancing the assembly session and setting the agenda of the House. 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.
On the day the verdict was reserved, the bench had refused to pass an interim order on a fervent plea of Congress against the ‘illegal’ swearing-in of Pul-led government and had said that it can ‘set the clock back’ if the Governor’s actions are found unconstitutional.
Congress party, which had 47 MLAs seats in the 60-member assembly, suffered a jolt when 21 of its lawmakers rebelled. Eleven BJP MLAs backed the rebels in the bid to upstage the government. Later, 14 rebel Congress MLAs were disqualified. Hours after the Union Cabinet had decided to recommend revocation of President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh, the apex court had on February 17 ordered maintenance of status quo in the politically fragile state till it examined judicial and assembly records on disqualification of the 14 rebel Congress MLAs by former Speaker Nabam Rebia.