Dehradun: In a sort of breather for the Congress government, the Nainital High Court on Tuesday ordered a floor test in the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly to determine the numbers which various parties have in the House.
The High Court said that the floor test will be held on Thursday, i.e. March 31, at 11 am.
Interestingly, the nine rebel Congress MLAs, who were earlier disqualified by the Speaker of the Uttarakhand Assembly, have been allowed to participate in the floor test. However, their votes will be kept separately.
Further, the Speaker has been asked not to declare the results of the floor test as the aim of the exercise is only to ascertain the numbers which various parties have in the state Assembly; the issue of which party has the majority will be decided later.
The Speaker will be required to submit the results before the court in a sealed envelope.
The Registrar of the Nainital High Court has been deputed as observer to oversee the smooth conduct of the floor test.
The court order came on a petition filed by the Congress party against the imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand.
Speaking to the press after the court order, Congress leader and counsel for Harish Rawat, Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, "The High Court accepts the point that despite President`s Rule there is enough scope for judicial review to allow a floor test to take place."
"This was asked by us," he said further, adding, "Mere horse trading allegations will not justify President`s Rule and stop floor test."
“Votes of disqualified MLAs will be kept separately for identification,” Singhvi informed, adding “they will be taken into account subject to final outcome of the writ filed petition by Chief Minister Harish Rawat challenging the imposition of President's Rule”.
The ruling BJP government at the Centre had on Sunday imposed President's Rule in Uttarakhand on Sunday, citing constitutional breakdown, just a day before the Harish Rawat was due to prove his majority in the state Assembly.