SC re-establishes Congressional government in Arunachal Pradesh [Read Judgment]


In one of the biggest blows to the Modi government, the Supreme Court today restored the congressional-led Nabam Tuki government. his date scheduled from January 14, 2016 to December 16, 2015 in order to remove President Nebam Rebia who …

In one of the biggest blows to the Modi government, the Supreme Court today re-established the Congress-led Nabam Tuki government.

This was after the court declared “illegal” and “a violation of constitutional provisions” the advancement of the session of the Assembly by Governor JP Rajkhowa from its scheduled date of January 14, 2016 to December 16, 2015 in order to impeach President Nebam Rebia who triggered the entire political crisis leading to the imposition of Presidential Rule on January 26.

A constitutional bench of five judges comprising Justices JS Khehar, Dipak Misra, Madan B. Lokur, PC Ghose and NV Ramana who ordered the “status quo ante as of December 15, 2015” ruled that all of the governor’s actions were contrary to the Article 163. of the Constitution.

Citing the SR Bommai Vs Union of India case on the scope of judicial review of a decision made by the president or governor, the judiciary said it had “all powers to delay the hour”.

The ruling actually meant that the government formed by rebel congress leader Kalikho Pul with the help of BJP deputies had been fired. Just before the Apex court reserved its verdict on February 20, Pul was sworn in as the ninth chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh with the support of 18 dissident congressional MPs and two independent MPs and 11 BJP deputies who provided external support.

The Congress Party, which had 47 MP seats in the 60-member assembly, suffered a shock when 21 of its lawmakers rebelled in January 2016. Eleven BJP MPs backed the rebels in an attempt to eclipse the government. Later, 14 rebel congressmen were disqualified.

Making orders after reviewing constitutional plans on the extent of the governor’s discretionary powers, the judiciary ruled that the governor does not have the power to call a session of the assembly without the help and advice of the chief minister and its Council of Ministers.

This is a double whammy for the Modi government, as it comes exactly two months after the Congressional government led by Harish Rawat returned to Uttarakhand after the president’s rule imposed there was overturned. by the State High Court after a ground test was facilitated by the Supreme Court. .

The constitutional bench of five judges passed orders after reviewing constitutional regimes on the extent of the governor’s discretionary powers. The bench was essentially examining the constitutionality of State Governor JP Rajkhowa’s decision to advance the Arunachal Assembly session, which ultimately sparked a political crisis leading to the ousting of the Nabam Tuki government led by the Congress and the proclamation of the president’s reign in the state on January 26. 2016.

The Supreme Court has delivered its verdict on an appeal against the order of the High Court of Gauhati of January 14, 2016 which upheld the discretionary powers of Rajkhowa to convene or advance a sitting of the assembly of Arunachal Pradesh. Former state assembly president Nabam Rebia moved the supreme court after the high court Itanagar bench decided to back Rajkhowa’s actions. The governor on December 9 moved the date of the assembly session to December 16 in which Rebia was removed by a resolution passed by 33 lawmakers, including 20 rebel members of Congress, by one month. Earlier on December 17, December 17, a bench in the Gauhati High Court of Judge Hrishikesh Roy suspended all the governor’s decisions, observing that on its face it was a violation of Articles 174 and 175 of the Constitution dealing with the convening of the session by the governor and his message to the House.


The tone and tenor of today’s verdict was perfectly in line with the scathing remarks the bench made against the center and the governor in an exhaustive hearing that lasted for more than a month in which it had even stressed that “the experience of Arunachal to overthrow state governments can prove fatal” and the tribunal had the power to “turn back time”

Criticizing the governor for his decision to advance the session of the assembly, he asked “What would be the change or the difference if the deliberations of the assembly took place on January 14 instead of December 16.” There must be some objection to being reached by the governor in wanting to advance the date. Does this mean that whenever he is bored he can call the assembly to feel the excitement? “

On the governor’s argument that his decisions are not subject to judicial review, the court said he “cannot be a silent bystander when democratic processes are brought down. “If democracy is slaughtered, how can the court remain silent,” asked Judge Khehar, the most virulent of all judges on the bench.

The court asked whether the governor’s decision was supported by sound constitutional principles or was it just a whim? “You can only use constitutional discretion if it is based on and only on a constitutional principle… What was the constitutional principle here? Is the advancement of the Assembly session within your discretion? “

He had heard arguments about the contours of the governor’s power and discretion under the constitution for more than a month before reserving judgment on February 22.


On November 14, 2011, Nabam Tuki took office as Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh. Nebum Rebhai, Tuki’s brother, takes the head of the assembly. In December 2014, Tuki reshuffled his cabinet, dropping Kalikho Pul, the state’s Minister of Health and Family. In April 2015, Pul alleged large-scale financial embezzlement within the government. Congress excludes him from the party. Between May and October 2015, BJP leaders supported congressional dissident Kalikho Pul. A number of congressmen, including the deputy speaker of the assembly, are also declaring their support for Pul. Congressmen then called for a resolution to remove the vice president.

In response, BJP MPs demand a resolution to impeach the president. Governor Rajkhowa, without holding any consultation with the CM and his cabinet, advances the date of the session of the assembly to December 16, 2015. Previously, the assembly was to be convened from January 14, 2016. He also accepts the resolution for the impeachment of the speaker, as requested by the deputies of the BJP and placed on the agenda of the first session of the assembly on December 16. It is alleged that Pul demanded money from a state businessman in exchange for the BJP coming to power in the state. The Tuki government locks the assembly down. A corresponding assembly meeting is held in another building, attended by 33 deputies. The resolution for the dismissal of the President is adopted and a new President is appointed. Kalikho Pul is elected CM, after which Congress moved the High Court to Guwahati.

On February 19, Pul was sworn in as Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, just hours after the lifting of presidential rule. The step came after SC cleared the bridges for revocation of the president’s reign as it overturned its own adopted standstill order.

31 deputies, led by Pul, called on the governor to demand the formation of the next government. Pul was accompanied by 19 rebel congressmen, as well as 11 BJP lawmakers and two independent members.

Former Chief Minister Nabam Tuki is said to have the support of 26 deputies from the 60-member Assembly.

Congress, which had 47 deputies in the 60-member assembly, suffered a shake when 21 of its lawmakers rebelled.

Eleven BJP deputies and two independents backed the rebels in their attempt to eclipse the government.

Later, 14 rebel congressmen were disqualified by the president. The Supreme Court revoked the standstill order after being satisfied with the Guwahati High Court order suspending the disqualification of 14 rebel congressmen.

The development was a major setback for the ousted Congressional government led by Nabam Tuki in the state as the Supreme Court paved the way for the formation of the government.

Read the judgment here.

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