Questionable acts of Arunachal guv

The partisan and unconstitutional conduct of Arunachal Pradesh Governor J P Rajkhowa in the ongoing political crisis in the state has again shown how this high office is being misused to serve the interests of the BJP-led Central government.

The governor’s conduct has deepened the crisis and made it more intractable. While a section of the Congress legislature party revolted against Chief Minister NabamTuki, the governor supported the dissidents, who joined hands with the BJP MLAs to bring down the government. 

Without consulting the chief minister, the governor advanced the date of the assembly session from January 14 to December 16 and decided the agenda of the House.

He sent a message to the House to take up the resolution for the removal of the Speaker, who had disqualified some dissident legislators, as the first item on the agenda of the House. The Speaker was with the chief minister while the deputy speaker had supported the dissidents.

The governor should not have actively intervened in the political developments and aided the dissidents in their campaign against the chief minister. As the constitutional head of the state, he is bound to go by the advice of the council of ministers.

This is laid down in the Constitution and spelt out clearly in many Supreme Court judgments.

If the governor thought that the chief minister had lost his majority, he should have told him to prove his majority on the floor of the House on January 14 or asked him to advance the date of the session for a confidence vote. Fixing a date for the session on the advice of the deputy speaker who is in the dissidents’ camp was wrong.

Other strange and unprecedented events also took place in the state. The chief minister’s loyalists locked the gates of the assembly building when the dissidents came there for the session, the rebels “impeached” the Speaker, “voted out” the chief minister and elected a new chief minister after assembling in a hotel.

The validity of an assembly session held in a hotel is questionable. The Gauhati High Court has stayed all

these decisions and sharply criticised the governor’s actions. The court rightly observed that the decision of the governor “reflects the non neutral role of the constitutional head and this is undermining the democratic process”.

The governor acted not as an impartial representative of the President but as an agent of the central government. He has flouted judicial verdicts and established norms and lowered the status of his office.

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