Ex-Arunachal Speaker Nabam Rebia Moves SC For Review of Historic Verdict


Supreme Court. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Former Arunachal Pradesh assembly speaker Nabam Rebia moved the Supreme Court seeking a review of a portion (dealing with the power of the speaker) of the historic verdict of the constitution bench, which restored Congress government in the state.

The move to seek a review of the judgement coincides with a fresh attempt by nine rebel Uttarakhand Congress MLAs, including former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, pleading for a stay on their disqualification by the speaker by relying on the Arunachal verdict.

The Uttarakhand MLAs, now BJP leaders, have filed a fresh plea in their pending appeal seeking a stay on the speaker’s decision to disqualify them and they have contended that the apex court has held that the speaker, facing a motion for removal, cannot disqualify lawmakers who are part of the motion.

In the review plea, Rebia has challenged the findings recorded in para 175 of the judgement in which the power of speaker under Article 179 (c) of the constitution is discussed.

Justice J. S. Khehar, in the verdict, had said, “We are satisfied, that the words ‘passed by a majority of all the then members of the assembly’, would prohibit the speaker from going ahead with disqualification proceedings under the Tenth Schedule, as the same would negate the effect of the words ‘all the then members’, after the disqualification of one or more MLAs from the House.

“The words “all the then members”, demonstrate an expression of definiteness. Any change in the strength and composition of the assembly, by disqualifying sitting MLAs, for the period during which the notice of resolution for the removal of the speaker [or the deputy speaker] is pending, would conflict with the express mandate of Article 179(c), requiring all “the then members” to determine the right of the speaker to continue,” it said.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Uttarakhand speaker, today said that a review has been filed by the then speaker of Arunchal Pradesh assembly as the verdict severely compromised the speaker’s status in the constitution.

He said the speaker’s power to adjudicate in cases relating to defection of MLAs cannot be taken away by political actions and now, anybody can move a motion and cripple the judicial power of the speaker.

“The [Arunachal] matter was never argued like that. The expression, ‘all the then members of the assembly’ [in the Article 179 (c) of the constitution] does not mean and include disqualified MLAs or vacant seats,” he said.