Earlier stay order on Governor JP Rajkhowa's directives vacated
‘The Governor is under a duty to exercise his power under Article 174 only in his discretion, after considering all facts and relevant matters in summoning or preponing the summoning of the House’
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Jan 13: In a blow to Aruchal Pradesh Chief Minister bam Tuki, the Gauhati High Court today upheld the directives of Governor JP Rajkhowa preponing the session of the Aruchal Pradesh assembly during which Speaker bam Rebia was impeached through a resolution passed by 33 legislators, including 20 rebel Congress members.
While vacating the earlier interim stay order by the court on the Governor's directives, a bench of Justice BK Sharma dismissed the petitions filed by ba Tuki's side on the ground of "non-maintaibility."
On December 17, a Gauhati High Court bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy had stayed all the decisions of the Governor, observing that prima facie it was in violation of Art 174 and 175 of the Constitution dealing with convening of the session by the Governor and his message to the House.
The court stay order had come on a petition filed by Aruchal Assembly Speaker bam Rebia.
In his judgement today, Justice BK Sharma said the petition raises an issue as to whether the Governor has a discretion to prepone a legislative assembly session. "In view of Article 163(2), the Governor and not the court is the sole judge of that question," Justice Sharma ruled.
"The writ petition (filed by Speaker Rebia earlier) ought to have been dismissed without issuing notice, because the averments made in the petition raised the question as to whether the Governor acted malafide or bofide. This cannot be decided without requiring the Governor persolly to account to the court for his actions, because he alone can deal with the allegations," the ruling said.
Justice Sharma also said that the role of a Governor cannot be examined by the court in view of Article 212 of the Constitution.
"The Governor is under a duty to exercise his power under Article 174 only in his discretion, after considering all facts and relevant matters in summoning or preponing the summoning of the House. It is not for the court to examine as to whether the exercise of discretiory power of the Governor is in accordance with the democratic principles," Justice Sharma said in the 103-page judgement which came on a petition filed by rebel Congress leader Kalikho Pul and ten other legislators.
Aruchal Pradesh had witnessed intense political drama in December last, after 20 of the total 47 Congress MLAs in the 60-member House rebelled against Chief Minister bam Tuki.
Speaker bam Rebia, who happens to be Tuki's brother, disqualified 16 rebel Congress legislators who had given a notice for removal of the Speaker. The Deputy Speaker later issued an order vacating the disqualification.
Following a request by the Opposition legislators, Governor JP Rajkhowa had preponed the Assembly session which was slated for January 14 to December 16. Thirty three MLAs - 20 Congress, 11 BJP and 2 Independents - removed the Speaker at the session held at a community hall after the assembly was locked by the district administration.
During a 'composite floor test' organized a day later, the 33 legislators extended their support to Kalikho Pul as the next Chief Minister and 'voted out' bam Tuki from the chair.