President's rule imposed in Arunachal Pradesh: Pranab Mukherjee accepts Cabinet recommendation

New Delhi: Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday came under central rule with President Pranab Mukherjee giving assent to the Union Cabinet's recommendation on such a course following political instability in the state.

Official sources said the President signed the proclamation two days after the cabinet held an unscheduled meeting on Sunday to recommend that the northeasten border state be brought under central rule.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had said the cabinet was forced to take the decision because of a Constitutional breakdown as six months had lapsed between two sessions of the state Assembly.

On Monday Mukherjee called Home Minister Rajnath Singh and put some queries to him on the need for the imposition of President's rule even as Congress, the ruling party in the state, met him and opposed the cabinet decision.

The party urged the President not to give assent to the cabinet decision saying the issue was before the Supreme Court which has decided to hear the Congress petition on Wednesday.

Pranab Mukherjee in a file photo. PTI

Pranab Mukherjee in a file photo. PTI

Other major opposition parties had also attacked the Centre's decision saying it amounted to "murder" of democracy while the BJP said the crisis was of Congress' making because it had lost numbers in the Assembly.

Arunachal Pradesh has been rocked by a political crisis since 16 December, 2015 when 21 rebel Congress MLAs joined hands with 11 of BJP and two independents to 'impeach' Assembly Speaker Nabam Rebia at a makeshift venue, in a move branded as "illegal and unconstitutional" by the Speaker.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court decided to hear on 27 January the Congress plea challenging the Cabinet decision.

The petition seeking urgent hearing was mentioned before Chief Justice TS Thakur, at his residence, who directed the
matter to be listed for hearing on Wednesday.

The Union Cabinet's decision was based on Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa's report.

Up in arms against Tuki, 21 rebel party MLAs, including 14 disqualified a day before, with the help of BJP and independent legislators, congregated at a community hall after the state Assembly complex was 'sealed' by the local administration, and 'impeached' Rebia in an impromptu session chaired by Deputy Speaker T Norbu Thongdok.

Twenty-seven MLAs of the 60-member Assembly, including the chief minister and his ministerial colleagues, boycotted the proceedings.

A day later, in a bizarre turn of events, opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs congregated in a local hotel to "vote out" Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and to "elect" a rebel Congress MLA in his place but the Gauhati High Court intervened to keep in "abeyance" decisions taken at the rebel "session".

A "no confidence" motion moved by BJP MLAs and Independent MLAs was "adopted" with Deputy Speaker T Norbu Thongdok, who is also a rebel Congressman, in the Chair. A total of 33 members in the 60-member house, including 20 dissident Congress MLAs, later "elected" another dissident
Congressman Kalikho Pul as the new "chief minister" of the state.

The chief minister had also written to the President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking their intervention to "uphold" the Constitution in the face of the "unprecedented murder" of democracy and "bypassing" of a democratically-elected government by the Governor.

Angry over the Governor's action in calling a session of the Assembly bypassing the government, the Congress had paralysed the Rajya Sabha for two days during the Winter Session.

In the High Court, Justice Hrishikesh Roy observed prima facie the governor's decision to advance the Assembly session to 16 December, 2015 for taking up impeachment proceedings against the Speaker was in "violation of Article 174 and 175 of the Constitution".

The Supreme Court has referred a batch of petitions on the Arunachal Pradesh crisis to a Constitution Bench.

Rebia, who has challenged in Gauhati High Court various decisions of the governor and deputy speaker including his removal from the Speaker's post, had alleged that the High Court's Acting Chief Justice had "erroneously rejected" his plea, filed on the judicial side, in administrative capacity.
He had also sought recusal of Justice BK Sharma from hearing his plea.

Rebia was removed from the post of the Speaker by 14 rebel Congress MLAs, disqualified by the Speaker, and BJP MLAs on 16 December in an assembly session presided over by the deputy speaker in a Community Hall in Itanagar. The deputy speaker, before removing Rebia from Speaker's post, had also quashed the disqualification of the rebel Congress legislators.

Another bench of the High Court later overturned Justice Roy's order and dismissed the Speaker's petition.


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Updated Date: Jan 26, 2016 19:47:34 IST

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