NEW DELHI -- The Supreme Court has given the Narendra Modi government two days to respond to the Congress Party's petition challenging the imposition of President's Rule in the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
The Supreme Court today asked Governor J.P. Rajkhowa to submit the report in which he recommended President's Rule, citing "constitutional breakdown." Rajkhowa's counsel asked that the report not be shared with the Congress Party.
Following a recommendation by the Union Cabinet, last week, President Pranab Mukherjee signed the order to impose central rule in the northeastern state on Tuesday.
Likening the political turmoil in Andhra Pradesh to an emergency, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has said that an Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly session has not be held for the past six months, and Speaker Nabam Rebia had sealed its premises.
Describing the move as the "murder of democracy," the Congress Party has questioned why the Modi government rammed through President's Rule, even before the Supreme Court heard a petition challenging the Centre's decision.
In the Supreme Court hearing today, the Congress Party was represented by a battery of prominent lawyers including Fali Nariman, Rajeev Dhawan, and Kapil Sibal.
The Congress Party has also questioned whether it was appropriate for the Centre to act on the Rajkhowa's recommendation, especially since the constitutional validity of the Governor's own actions had been challenged in the Supreme Court by Rebia.
On Dec. 9, Rajkhowa ordered that the Winter Session be moved forward to Dec. 16 from its scheduled date of January 14 at the behest of dissidents in the Congress Party, and he also sought Rebia's removal as the Assembly Speaker.
The Congress Party has accused of Rajkhowa of doing BJP's bidding in Arunachal Pradesh, and trying to destabilise the sensitive border state.
On Dec. 16, lawmakers from the Congress Party and the BJP met at a community centre to impeach Rebia, and the next day, they gathered at a hotel to pass a "no confidence" motion against Chief Minister Nabam Tuki (now former), whom they accused of corruption and mismanagement. The rebels chose Congress Party's Kalikho Pul to succeed Tuki.
Anticipating trouble, Rebia had ordered the local administration to seal the Assembly premises, but lawmakers were granted permission by Rajkhowa to meet at a makeshift venue.
Both sessions were dismissed as “illegal and unconstitutional" by Rebia and Tuki.
The 60 seat House is made up of 42 Congress Party lawmakers, 11 from the BJP, 5 from the People's Party of Arunachal (PPA) and two Independents. The rebel lawmakers included 21 Congress Party MLAs, 11 BJP lawmakers, and two Independents.
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