New Delhi: The Centre on Friday justified in Supreme Court the imposition of President's rule in Arunachal Pradesh, saying there was "complete breakdown" of governance and law and order in the state where the Governor and his family apprehended "grave danger to their lives" daily.
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/references 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 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.
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.
In the affidavit, the Centre submitted that the prayers in the writ petition seeking production of the advice of the union cabinet to the President on January 24, 2016 and quashing of the said advice are impermissible in law and deserve to be rejected in view of the constitutional prohibition for disclosure of such advice.
It is further submitted that the prayer to restore the assembly or restore the government of Congress is misconceived and liable to be rejected.
"The prayer for general mandamus to quash all laws, orders and directions issued/ passed during the period of proclamation of President's Rule in the state of Arunachal Pradesh as illegal and void-ab initio apart from being vague is also impermissible in law. The proclamation dated January 26, 2016 is absolutely legal and valid," the affidavit said.
Congress, which has 47 MLAs seats in the 60-member assembly, suffered a jolt when 21 of them rebelled. Eleven BJP MLAs backed the rebels in the bid to upstage the Nabam Tuki government. Later, 14 rebel Congress MLAs were disqualified.
The Governor then called assembly session on December 16 in which Deputy Speaker revoked disqualification of 14 rebel Congress MLAs and removed Rebia from the post of Speaker. This sitting was held in a community hall in Itanagar.
Observing that Arunachal Pradesh is a strategically located Northeastern state from the security perspective and was mineral rich, the affidavit said "the State has been witness to recurrent insurgency as well as attempt by China to claim large parts of its territory which has been resisted by India very strongly.
"State is therefore a very sensitive region sharing a restive border with China. It is therefore imperative and in the interest of the country that the state be socially, economically and politically stable.
"The present proceedings arise out a complete breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the state due to which there was political instability on a large scale ultimately resulting in the possible violation of the mandate of Article 174.
"As part of the constitutional duties, the Governor of the state had been sending periodic monthly reports of the political developments in the state to the President of India, The Vice-President and the respondent number one throughout the period of October 2015 to december 2015.
"In addition, special reports dated October 17, 2015, November 19, 2015, December 16, 2015 and December 17, 2015 were also send by the Governor to the aforesaid addressees," it said.
It further said the Governor had issued an order dated November 3, 2015 summoning the Legislative Assembly to meet on January 14, 2016.
On November 19, 2015, the Governor received a notice of resolution for removal of Nabam Rebia from the office of the Speaker by Tamiyo Taga, leader of opposition, and signed by 12 other members of the Assembly, the affidavit said.
On December 9, 2015, the Governor modified the order issued by him on November 3 to advance the Assembly session from December 16 citing detailed reasons in his order which inter alia included three issues.
Firstly, the need for expeditious disposal of notice of resolution for removal of speaker as per past practices in the Lok Sabha, secondly the seriousness and the urgency accorded to such resolutions in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of
Business in the state Assembly and finally, the utmost immediacy with which the cloud cast by the notice of resolution of no-confidence in the Speaker, over the
continuance of the incumbent in the office of the Speaker had to be cleared, the affidavit said regarding the three issues.
"Vide report dated December 16, 2015, the Governor inter alia informed of deteoriating law and order situation in the state and political instability and that the Speaker of the Assembly on the night before the Assembly was to be convened
as per the Governor's order had "disqualified" 16 MLAs on December 15, 2015 which MLAs had expressed no confidence in the Speaker," it said.
Referring to the Governor's special report addressed to the President on December 17, 2015 highlighting law and order situation and the political development in the state, the affidavit gave details of certain key points.
"The Speaker of the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly vide his note dated December 14, 2015 addressed to Home Minister, Government of Arunachal Pradesh informed about his source information that the anti-social elements would try to burn down the Assembly building. He requested the Home Minister to provide full security in and around the Assembly building with effect from December 15 to December 18, 2015. He also requested that no individual including MLAs be allowed to enter the Assembly building from December 15 to December 18, 2015," it said.
"34 MLAs held the first sitting of the sixth session of the Assembly at another location i.e. Techi Takar Memorial Community Hall, G sector, Naharlagun. The said 33 MLAs excluding the Deputy Speaker passed a resolution for removal of Nabam Rebia from the office of the Speaker with immediate effect.
"Again on December 17, 2015, the Assembly premises were locked and the 34 MLAs including the Deputy Speaker were prevented from entering the Assembly building," it said....