The five-judge Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court (SC) on 13 July 2016 unanimously restored Congress Government led by Nabam Tuki in Arunachal Pradesh.
For this purpose, it also quashed the Kalikho Pul government that came into power on 19 February 2016 after Governor J P Rajkhowa ordered dismissal of Nabam Tuki led government of the state.
The constitutional bench headed by Justice JS Khehar termed removal of former chief minister Nabam Tuki as unconstitutional. Other members of the bench were Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice P.C. Ghose and Justice N.V. Ramana.
Highlights of the decision
• It directed the immediate imposition of status quo ante as on 15 December 2015 and paved a way for the return of Congress-led Nabam Tuki government to power.
• It said that Governor who is not an elected representative is only an executive nominee whose powers flow from the aid and advice of the State Cabinet. Use of his discretionary powers under Article 163 of the Constitution to summon or dissolve assembly sessions without the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his cabinet is unconstitutional.
• Not being an ombudsman for the legislature, governor can’t advice a speaker to discharge his functions in the manner he considers constitutionally appropriate.
• Governor carries no power to take a decision on issues that happens within the four walls of the political party. However, Governor Rajkhowa used his constitutional authority to ostensibly favour an “invalid breakaway group” of MLAs disqualified under the Tenth Schedule, which amounts to constitutional impropriety.
A historic judgment
It is the first time that the Supreme Court used its power of judicial review to restore a government when its successor government is in place. Earlier, the nine-judge bench in the SR Bommai vs Union Of India of 1994 judgement condemned the arbitrary use of Article 356 that involves the President’s rule, but none went to the extent of restore a government that was ousted earlier.
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Where: Arunachal Pradesh
When: 13 July 2016