Centre moves Supreme Court against Uttarakhand Verdict

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the central government to approach its secretary general for listing its petition challenging an Uttarakhand High...

Centre moves Supreme Court against Uttarakhand Verdict

Harish Rawat

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the central government to approach its secretary general for listing its petition challenging an Uttarakhand High Court order setting aside president's rule in the state.

An apex court bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice S.K. Singh asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to approach the court's secretary general after he mentioned the central government's plea challenging high court judgement.

The court said thereafter, Chief Justice T.S. Thakur will decide which bench will hear the matter.

It is likely that the central government's plea may come up for hearing later in the day or on Monday.

In a major blow to the BJP-led central government, the Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday set aside president's rule in the state, restoring Congress leader Harish Rawat as the chief minister, nearly a month after he was ousted.

In a setback to the Centre, Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday sets aside President’s rule proclamation. The High Court allows ousted Chief Minister Harish Rawat's plea challenging President’s rule in the state. “Article 356 can only use as the last resort,” said the court.

The HC said that Harish Rawat should have been given time to prove majority in the Assembly. The HC has also asked Harish Rawat to prove majority on April 29.

Harish Rawat thanked the everybody for their support and said the Uttarkhand has managed to get justice. The move deprived the people of Uttarakhand from benefits.  The budget could not utilised after the government was ousted. Important time and energy was lost due to this.

Government sources said the Centre could move to the Supreme Court. "We are not surprised by the decision, HC took a view from day one," said a senior BJP leader.

Meanwhile, Rawat has filed caveat in SC to preempt Centre's move.

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.

"We will prove on April 29 that (the Rawat government) was and is in minority," he said in New Delhi.

After ouster of Rawat, Vijayvargiya had claimed that Congress-led governments in Himachal Pradesh and Manipur were on their way out -- like it happened earlier in Arunachal Pradesh.

Earlier the high Court had said it was “pained” at the Centre’s behaviour on failing to clarify whether it could keep revocation of Presiden's rule in the state on hold.

“We are pained that Centre can behave like this,” the court said on apprehensions of revocation of President’s rule before a High Court verdict.

The court said it would be a travesty of justice if the Centre recalls its order imposing President’s rule and allows someone else to form a government now, strong words that came after its counsel was unable to give an undertaking till a verdict is given in the present case.

Continuing its hearing for the fourth day, the court also told the Centre that it could allow the ousted CM Rawat’s petition challenging the imposition of President’s rule and ensure that a floor test is held.

“Should we consider their application for stay moved on April 7? It was expected that till the judgement is pronounced, Central government will not recall (Article) 356. If you recall 356 and call someone else to form a government, what else would it be other than travesty of justice,” a bench of Chief Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice V.K. Bist said.

The strong words of the court came after the Centre’s counsel said it was not in a position to give an assurance that the government would consider putting on hold the recall of its order imposing President’s rule for a week. It gave the government’s counsel some time to take instructions.

The bench observed, “Otherwise you can do this in every State. Impose President’s rule for 10-15 days and then ask someone else to take oath. More than angry, we are pained that you are behaving like this. That the highest authority — Government of India — behaves like this. How can you think of playing with the court.”

“What if we allow the petition? Then things would go back to what it was prior to the President’s rule and the state government will only have to prove majority by way of floor test. Can you take exception to that also,” the bench asked the Centre.

Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy slammed Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar for the fiasco.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Modi government should stop interfering in the state governments affairs.