11:13pm, 14th July, 2016


6 min

In a major setback to the image of BJP, the Supreme Court has reinstated the Congress Government in Arunanchal Pradesh. How did all this happen? Read ahead.

In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court has passed the judgement that actions of the Arunanchal Pradesh Governor were illegal. The Governor did not follow the due Constitutional procedures while imposing Presidents Rule and instating a new Government in the Assembly. Since, this was all done with the help of BJP, it’s a great loss of face value for BJP in the North East. Here is a timeline of all the important things that lead up to this.

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December, 2015 – On December 9, a group of rebel Congress MLAs requested Governor JP Rajkhowa to impeach Speaker Nabam Rebia. They complained that the Speaker is trying to disqualify them from the Assembly. Agreeing to them, the Governor called for an emergency session on December 16 where the impeachment motion will be taken up. When Congress protested against this, the Centre imposed Presidents Rule in the state according to Article 356 of the Constitution. The special session was conducted unparliamentarily at a community hall. The session was attended by 20 rebel Congress MLAs, 11 BJP MLAs and 2 Independents. They passed the impeachment motion and also declared that Pul was the ‘elected’ leader of the house. On the very same day, the Speaker disqualified 14 Congress MLAs.

January 5, 2016 – The Gauhati High Court stayed the disqualification of the Congress MLAs and the Speaker’s plea was turned down.

January 15, 2016 – The Supreme Court refers the entire batch of petitions filed by the Speaker to a constitution bench, which examined the discretionary powers of the Governor.

January 29, 2016 – Nabam Tuki filed another petition in the Supreme Court challenging the imposition of President’s Rule in the state.

January 30, 2016 – Citing the complete breakdown of law and order, the Centre justifies the imposition of President’s Rule saying that Congress Government is in a minority in the state.

February 2, 2016 – Governor Rajkhowa said the President’s rule in the state was temporary and that a new elected government would soon be formed in its place.

February 4, 2016 – The Supreme Court, examining the powers of Governors, took strong note of a submission that all decisions of the Governor are not open to judicial review and said it cannot be a mute spectator when democratic processes are “slaughtered”.

February 10, 2016 – The top court rejected the pleas of the rebel Congress MLAs against the Speaker.

February 19, 2016 – President’s Rule lifted in the state

February 20, 2016 – Dissident leader Kalikho Pul was sworn in as the ninth Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh with the support of 18 rebel Congress MLAs, and two Independents and 11 BJP MLAs who gave outside support. Pul’s swearing-in came a day after the Supreme Court vacated its interim order to maintain status quo in the Arunachal Pradesh assembly, paving the way for government formation.

February 23, 2016 – The Supreme Court observed that it was empowered to “set the clock back” if there were constitutional violations in the manner in which the Arunachal Pradesh Governor issued orders that have eventually led to formation of a new government in the state.

February 25, 2016 – Pul won the vote of confidence without any opposition on the first day of the state assembly session, with 17 Congress MLAs including former chief minister Nabam Tuki remaining absent in the House.

March 3, 2016 – 30 rebel Congress MLAs who sided with CM Pul merged with People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), leaving no scope for the Congress to take any legal action against them. The merger took place with the CM announcing it at Naharlagun. He said they were “compelled” to take the decision as Congress had “shut all its doors” despite all of them asserting that they continued to belong to it.

May 6, 2016 – Top leaders of the Congress party took out a march from Jantar Mantar against what it called the ‘undemocratic’ policies of the Centre with regard to the imposition of President’s Rule in the states of Arunachal and Uttarakhand. Some of the leaders courted arrest before they were released by the police.

July 13, 2016 – The Supreme Court turned the clock back and restored the Congress government in the state. The court said the Governor’s actions were ‘illegal.’

Nobody exactly knows the full implications of the judgement as there is no precedence to this. There was a Government ruling for 4 months under the leadership of Kalikho Pul. SC has pulled them down and reinstated the earlier Government. How will everything turn out? Nobody knows especially because Congress might not have the numbers.

Only time will tell.

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