Arunachal crisis: SC starts examining powers of Governors

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New Delhi, Jan 15: The Supreme Court today started examining constitutional schemes on the scope of discretionary powers of the Governor, amid continuing month-long impasse over Nabam Tuki-led Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh.

The high-voltage hearing began with the submissions of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who listed out legal questions, including the Governor's power to convene Assembly session without aid and advice of the government, for adjudication by a five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar.

SC starts examining powers of Governors

Sibal represents Nabam Rebia who has purportedly been removed from the Speaker's post by rebel Congress and BJP MLAs in an assembly session at a community hall in Itanagar on December 16.

It has also been alleged that the Governor had advanced the assembly sitting from January 14 to December 16 without the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his council of ministers.

"Whether the Governor has any discretionary power to summon the House without the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his council of ministers," Sibal asked the bench that also comprised Justices Dipak Misra, Madan B Lokur, P C Ghose and N V Ramana.

"What are the contours of powers of the Governor in sending messages to the House and, in particular, the power of the Governor in dealing with the constitution of the House," he said, adding that the Governor cannot change the party-wise position of lawmakers in the assembly.

The court, during the hearing, referred to constitutional provisions and asked questions on discretionary powers of the Governor and said he can always take certain decisions which can be questioned only in the court of law and cannot be stopped and objected to by the state government.

The bench said "there may be some grey areas where the Governor can always say that it is his discretion which can be challenged in judicial review only." Sibal also said that the Governor, who is neither the officer of the assembly nor its member, cannot convene a session of the House on his own.


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