New Delhi: In a big relief for former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat, the Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the petition of the nine Congress MLAs challenging their disqualification from the State Assembly.
The apex court, while maintaining that the disqualified MLAs won't be allowed to participate in the floor test due on Tuesday, also posted the matter for next hearing on July 12.
The ruling holds significance as the Uttarakhand Assembly will witness a floor test tomorrow under the strict guidelines of the Supreme Court to find out if Rawat enjoys the confidence of the House or not.
The Supreme Court had this morning agreed to hear a plea by nine disqualified Uttarakhand MLAs who had challenged their disqualification from the State Assembly.
The MLAs moved the Supreme Court minutes after the Uttarakhand High Court dismissed a similar plea from them earlier in the day.
Dismissing the petition, the single judge Nainital High Court bench of Justice UC Dhyani advised the MLAs to go back to state Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal and request a review of his action if they so wished.
The judgement by the high court was seen as a blow for the BJP as it would have made its task difficult in the confidence vote that will be sought on Tuesday by former chief minister Harish Rawat.
Now that the nine MLAs remain disqualified after the SC ruling, the BJP is left with only 28 MLAs, including Bhim Lal Arya whose loyalty to the party is reportedly in doubt. Although suspended by the BJP, Arya continues to represent it in the House.
In addition, the disqualification of rebel MLAs will now give Rawat an advantage in the floor test which will be held in the Assembly with an effective strength of 62. To win a majority, 31 MLAs are required.
The Supreme Court had on Friday ordered that a floor test be conducted in the Uttarakhand Assembly on May 10.
Rawat was chief minister of Uttarakhand till the BJP-led Centre imposed President's Rule in the state on March 27.