Political crisis

SC extends Prez rule in U'khand, no floor test on Friday

PTI4_23_2016_000130B Uttarakhand former chief minister Harish Rawat | PTI
  • A day before the trust vote, the Centre imposed President’s rule under Article 356 citing a constitutional breakdown in state machinery.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended President’s rule in Uttarakhand, implying that there will be no floor test that the state's high court had ordered the Congress' Harish Rawat to take on April 29.

The next hearing in the case will be held on May 3. Last week, the top court had stayed till Wednesday the judgement of Uttarakhand High Court quashing the imposition of President's Rule in the state.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to justify the imposition of Presidents' rule in the state, framing seven questions pertaining to the issue and sought the Centre’s response to them.

During a hearing on the Centre’s appeal against the Uttarakhand High Court order, the Supreme Court, while emphasising that the Speaker is the master of the Assembly, asked the Centre whether the delay in floor test be a ground for proclamation of President rule.

"Is disqualification of MLAs by the Speaker a relevant issue for the purpose of invoking President's rule under Article 356," the court asked.

The political crisis in the state emerged after nine Congress MLAs revolted and sided with the opposition BJP during a debate over the state budget in March. They were however disqualified under the anti-defection law. Following their disqualification, governor K.K. Paul asked Rawat to prove his majority in the assembly.

A day before the trust vote, the Centre imposed President’s rule under Article 356 citing a constitutional breakdown in state machinery.

The ruling party and Rawat filed a petition in the Uttarakhand high court challenging the Centre’s imposition.

Attorney general Mukul Rohtagi argued that the constitutional breakdown was because Rawat had indulged in corruption. However, Rawat’s counsel, Abhishek Manu Singhvi denied the allegations.

On April 21, a high court division bench headed by Justice KM Joseph quashed President’s rule in the state and reinstated the Rawat government. But the Centre immediately challenged the high court’s verdict in the Supreme Court, leading to the state government being suspended again.

The stay order on the high court verdict was given after Rohatgi gave an undertaking that the Centre would not revoke Article 356 until April 27.

With agency inputs

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