Congress plea on Arunachal to go before Constitution Bench

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 The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to take up for hearing before a Constituton Bench a writ petiton filed by the Congress party challenging the constitutionality of the Union Cabinet recommendation and subsequent imposition of President’s Rule in the sensitive border State of Arunachal Pradesh ruled by the Congress party.

In an urgent mentioning by a battery of top Congress politician-lawyers, a Bench of Justices J.S. Khehar and C. Nagappan posted the petition for hearing at 2 pm today before a five-judge Constitution Bench already seized of a batch of petitions filed by Arunachal Legislative Assembly Speaker Nabam Rebia against his “impeachment” by a faction of rebel Congress MLAs with BJP MLAs in an “Assembly Session” held at a community hall on December 16, 2015.

‘Defects in plea’

However, Justice Khehar made the Bench’s displeasure vocal about the fact that the Congress party had not paid the requisite court fee in full while filing the petition.

There was a shortfall of Rs. 800 in the court fee paid to the Supreme Court Registry.

Justice Khehar said there were a lot of other “defects” in the petiton filed by Bamang Felix, Chief Whip of the Congress Legislative Party of the border State.

The Congress party side saw a whole array of top lawyers present in court, including senior advocates Fali Nariman, Kapil Sibal and Vivek Tankha.

When Mr. Nairman requested the court to take up the petition immediately, Justice Khehar looked at a sheet of paper purportedly from the Registry and said “the Registry has raised a lot of objections. You have paid less court fee. You have to pay Rs. 800 more…”

When one of the lawyers shouted out that the payment has been made now, Justice Khehar addressed Mr. Nariman, saying: Children are just saying… please look into this… when you file urgent matters like this, ensure that you pay court fee in full”.

Justice Khehar further looked at the sheet and said that “they (Registry) have also objected to the font used…. what font have you used here…”

The Bench however said that it will post the matter at 2 pm before the Constitution Bench also led by Justice Khehar and in the meantime the lawyers should ensure that the defects are cleared.

Mr. Felix has accused the Centre of conspiring to pull down the elected Congress government of Arunachal Pradesh through the offices of Governor J.P. Rajkhowa. The petition wants the apex court to judicially review the relevant material on which the Governor has claimed the breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the State, followed by the Cabinet’s recommendation and imposition of President’s Rule under Article 356 of the Constitution.

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