Even the President can go wrong says Uttarakhand HC

Uttarakhand High Court

Uttarakhand High Court

A Division Bench of the Uttarakhand High Court at Nainital who are hearing the case against the imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand, Wednesday  said “Even the President can go wrong”.

In successive hearings, the Division bench of Chief Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice V.K. Bisht said the Centre’s motive appear suspect in its decision to recommend President’s rule in the northern state.

The Centre has been arguing that President’s rule cannot be reviewed by the courts. Unmoved by that contention, the judges said, “There is no such decision like that of a king which cannot be subject to judicial review.”

“Each decision has an impact 10-20 years down the line,” the court said, referring to the precedent that could be set if President’s rule is unfairly invoked in states where other parties are in power.

The Division Bench on Tuesday objected to Centre’s “haste” and said it was “introducing chaos” by intruding into the state’s affairs.

“You are taking away the power of an elected government… you are introducing chaos,” the judges said after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi argued that there can be a floor test after President’s rule which is a “temporary freeze” since it gets over in two months.

“How can be it be a concern of the central government? … The defection of the Congress MLAs. You cannot take a political line. This must be clear,” the Bench said.

On Monday, the high court, expressing its strong disagreement with the Centre’s argument, said, “You are cutting at the root of democracy.”

Last month, the dissidence within the Congress against Chief Minister Harish Rawat led to nine legislators from the party voting against the  budget presented by his government.

The Centre claimed this proved that Rawat had lost his majority in the House. Without the rebel Congressmen, he was reduced to less than the 36 votes he needs to remain in power, the opposition BJP alleged.

Based on the recommendation of Governor KK Paul, the Centre called for President’s rule, and introduced it just a day before Rawat was to take a trust vote as directed by the High Court.