Complete breakdown, Guv in danger: Centre's justification on Prez rule in Arunachal
New Delhi: "Complete breakdown" of governance and law and order in the state where the Governor and his family apprehended "grave danger to their lives" on a daily basis are among the reasons cited by the Centre in its affidavit to the Supreme Court today explaining the need to impose President's Rule in Arunachal Pradesh.
The affidavit, filed by Ministry of Home Affairs, alleged that Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and Speaker Nabam Rebia have been playing "communal politics" against Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa, who in his reports had recommended imposition of President's Rule in the state by elaborating the sequence of events leading the Congress government becoming a minority.
"Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and Speaker Nabam Rebia, both belonging to same community, are playing communal politics by inciting, provoking and funding students of a particular community and other communal organisations against other tribes and the Governor by referring to his Assamese roots," it said.
"Even the Raj Bhawan premises were under siege by the supporters of Nabam Tuki and Nabam Rebia for several hours as the district administration and the police did not enforce the prohibitory orders and not even a single arrest was made," the Centre's affidavit said.
Elaborating indicators of constitutional breakdown, it said the governor's letters to the Chief Minister on matters of public importance concerning state administration are mostly not responded to in violation of Article 167(b) of the Constitution.
The affidavit settled by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who was asked by a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice J S Khehar to respond to the petition challenging the imposition of central rule, said, "there is no effective administration in the state and the government is not functioning as per the Constitution in the state."
"The Governor, who is the nominee of the President of India, is being publically insulted, humiliated and even gheraoed by the supporters of the present government and the state administration is a silent spectator.
"Gherao, at the instance of the political executive, of the Governor, who is the nominee of the President, amounts to constitutional breakdown in the state," the affidavit added.
The affidavit said, "the assembly session which took place on December 16 last year has been disputed by Nabam Tuki and his supporters."
"Whether this Assembly session is valid or not is under litigation in this court. In this eventuality, this court rules in favour of interpretation that this assembly session was not valid then in any case there will be constitutional breakdown because the requirement of Article 174(1) would have been breached.
"On the other hand, if this court holds that the December 16 (session) was valid then it is clear that the current government is in a minority and is not allowing the testing of the majority. Therefore, in either case, the state is heading for a constitutional crisis....," the Centre claimed.
It alleged that the Chief Minister has been encouraging indiscipline, lawlessness, politicking by government officials by inciting, provoking and funding an apex communal organisation of one community, mainly comprising government officials, to publicly organise demonstrations/rallies for recall/removal/resignation of the incumbent Governor.
Further, the affidavit said the Chief Minister has not kept the Governor informed on state's development agenda, programmes, projects, schemes etc.
The Centre also questioned the conduct of the Chief Minister by referring to December 8, 2015 letter released by him to the press from New Delhi, using "highly defamatory, unparliamentary, insulting and threatening language against the Governor."
"Governor and his family are daily apprehending grave danger to their live. The Governor has highlighted that if he could not feel safe, how could a common man be safe with the present law and order situation prevailing in the state," the affidavit said.
Giving reference of materials and documents annexed with the response, running into 316-page, the Centre said from the material available before the President, it is evident that the Speaker together with the political executive prevented the meeting of the Legislative Assembly from taking place in the Assembly premises which was locked.
"As a result, the Assembly session had to be held in different premises. It is worth mentioning that locking of Assembly premises amounts to locking of the Constitution," the affidavit said.
"The fact that the Speaker could lock down by an order the very premises of the assembly and not allow the legislators to even visit the assembly is a grave act and subversive in the democratic set up of the Constitution.
"The functioning of the legislature through a premises which is the assembly is sacrosanct and symbolises the democratic will power of the people," the affidavit said.
The Centre said the present political executive in Arunachal Pradesh "does not command a majority" in the legislative assembly and by making attempts to prevent the assembly session, "the Speaker in connivance with the minority government has tried to defeat the basic principle of democracy and the basic requirement of the Constitution that the Chief Minister must command majority of the House and such majority should be tested on the floor of the House."
The affidavit was filed in response to the petition filed by Rajesh Tacho, Chief Whip of Congress Legislature party in the state assembly, challenging the Governor's report recommending imposition of President's Rule in the state.
However during the hearing, Attorney General had opposed it saying that the petition was filed before the proclamation of central rule on January 26 and had sought its dismissal.
However, the court had allowed to amend the petition. Yesterday, Nabam Tuki had filed a fresh petition in the apex court challenging the promulgation of central rule.
The affidavit further said President's Rule was imposed after the Centre had reported that "the law and order situation was absolutely unsatisfactory in the capital complex and a war-like scenario had been observed where the state cabinet itself was participating in the agitation."
"These developments indicated that there was complete breakdown of the constitutional machinery in Arunachal Pradesh and accordingly Governor had also recommended for taking special measures including exercising powers under Article 356 of the Constitution," it said.
Further, the Centre said the Governor in his report kept updated the proceedings before the Guwahati High Court where the orders passed by him for holding the meeting outside the Assembly was upheld.
"The Governor had also reported about the news that the Single Judge in the Guwahati High Court had stayed the orders issued by the Governor advancing the Assembly and also the subsequent proceedings including the removal of the Speaker and other decisions taken by the Assembly held on December 16 and 17," it said.
(With PTI inputs)