Blow to Modi govt as High Court revokes President's Rule in Uttarakhand​; Centre to move SC against order

Centre will move Supreme court against Uttarakhand High Court order, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told ANI on Wednesday.

Blow to Modi govt as High Court revokes President's Rule in Uttarakhand​; Centre to move SC against order
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Delhi: The Centre will move the Supreme Court to challenge the Uttarakhand High Court's order on Thursday quashing the proclamation of President's Rule in the state and revival of the Congress government headed by Harish Rawat.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said, "We've nothing to do with disqualified MLAs, we're only concerned with the Presidential notification," as per ANI.

"We're filing an appeal (challenging Uttarakhand HC order), appeal is being prepared, it will be lodged in SC tomorrow morning," he added.

"The Appropriation Bill, passed on March 18, was actually not passed and despite that the Speaker certified it which really means the government has fallen. By Speaker's order minority government was allowed to continue," Rohatgi further said.

Delivering a major blow to the Modi government, the Uttarakhand High Court today quashed the proclamation of President's rule in the state and revived the Congress government headed by Harish Rawat, who has been asked to prove his majority in the Assembly on April 29.

Coming down heavily on the Centre for the March 27 proclamation under Art 356, a division bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice KM Joseph said the imposition of President's rule was contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court.

In a lengthy judgement dictated in the open court after the Centre's counsel declined to give an undertaking that the government would not revoke the President's for a week for the court to give its verdict, the bench made strong observations on the Centre's resort to Art 356 of the Constitution in the instant case.

"The soul of the matter is whether it is open to the Central government to get rid of state governments, supplant or uproot the democratically-elected government, introduce chaos, undermine confidence of the little man who stands with a white paper to cast his vote braving the snow, heat and rain. We are of the view that be it suspension or dissolution, the effect is troppling of a democratically- elected government. It breeds cynicism in the hearts of citizens who participate in the democratic system and also undermines democracy and foundation of federalism," the bench said, as per PTI.

Upholding the disqualification of nine dissident Congress MLAs, the court said they have to pay the price of committing the "Constitutional sin" of defection by being disqualified.

The bench, also comprising Justice VK Bist, observed that the material considered for imposing President's rule "has been found wanting".

Ordering restoration of his government, the court said Rawat must necessarily obtain a vote of confidence by holding a floor test on April 29.

A visibly pleased Rawat hailed the decision as "a victory for the people". 

"Uttarakhand has got justice. I stand vindicated," he told the media shortly after the verdict, as per IANS.

Uttarakhand was plunged into political uncertainty after nine Congress legislators, including former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, whom Rawat replaced, revolted and turned to the BJP.

The crisis peaked on March 18 when the assembly passed the budget Appropriation Bill by voice vote even as the opposition, including the rebel Congress members, sought recorded voting. But Speaker Govind Kunjwal declined the request, leading the BJP to cry foul.

Rawat was then asked by Governor KK Paul to prove his majority on March 28. Just a day before, the central government ousted the Rawat-led government by imposing President's Rule. Rawat immediately went to court.

On Thursday, Rawat said the ruling to restore his government had begun a "new phase" in the state and asked the Modi government to honour its stated policy of "cooperative federalism".

The BJP claimed the court ruling was not a surprise.

Its general secretary and Uttarakhand affairs in charge Kailash Vijayvargiya, who played a key role in the developments leading to Rawat's ouster, insisted that Rawat won't be able to prove his majority.

(With Agency inputs)