New Delhi: In a setback to the Centre, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the restoration of ousted Chief Minister Nabam Tuki in Arunachal Pradesh as it quashed Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa's decision to prepone the assembly session from January 2016 to December. In an unanimous verdict, a Constitution bench of Justices J.S. Khehar, Dipak Misra, Madan B. Lokur, Pinaki Chandra Ghosh and N.V. Ramana directed the restoration of the status quo ante as it existed on December 15, 2015, effectively bringing back Tuki as Chief Minister. The constitution bench also quashed the direction of Governor Rajkhowa on the manner and the order in which the preponed session of the state assembly conducted its business. Rajkhowa had asked the assembly to take up a resolution seeking the removal of Nebam Rebia as Speaker as the first item and also directed the Speaker not to tinker with the composition of the assembly despite his powers under the anti-defection law. The constitution bench set aside "all the steps and decisions taken in pursuant to the Governor's directions" holding them as "unsustainable". Justice Misra and Justice Lokur pronounced concurring judgements giving their own reasons to agree with the main judgment pronounced by Justice Khehar. Justice Lokur held that Deputy Speaker Nabam Rabia could not have reversed the decision of the Speaker disqualifying 14 rebel Congress legislators who had made common cause with the BJP to topple Tuki.
Meanwhile, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday thanked the Supreme Court for "explaining to the Prime Minister what democracy is". Gandhi issued the statement after the apex court restored the ousted Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh.