NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to return all documents seized from the deposed Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki and his cabinet colleagues after imposition of President’s Rule, saying this was the “basic fairness level required for them to assail” the promulgation.
The constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar directed the Centre to make copies and return by Friday all seized private letters, files and documents that are in the custody of the administrator to the former chief minister, ministers and parliamentary secretaries, through the Chief Secretary.
“After hearing counsel for parties at some length, we are of the view that certain records/documents deserve to be furnished to the former chief minister, ministers and parliamentary secretaries whose offices have been sealed and from whose offices files/documents have been kept in safe custody,” the bench said.
The bench also conceded its mistake and recalled a notice to Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa seeking his report to the President recommending central rule.
At the outset of the day’s proceedings, the bench said, “That (issuing notice) is our mistake” after considering an earlier verdict and the legal position that the Governor enjoys “complete immunity” in court proceedings.” The court’s remark came after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi pointed out the legal position and referred to a 2006 judgment which had held that Governors cannot be asked to join legal proceedings. The bench referred to Rohatgi’s contention that Governors have complete immunity under Article 361 of the Constitution and said, “We consider it just and appropriate to recall the notice issued to Respondent 2 (the Governor).” The bench clarified, its order recalling the notice would not preclude the Governor from filing his views.