In the ever changing drama of Uttarakhand politics, The Supreme Court while hearing the Centre’s plea has stayed the HC order till April 27 two days before the confidence vote in the assembly. The verdict now effectively re- imposes President’s Rule in the state of Uttarakhand and comes as big blow to Harish Rawat and the Congress party. The SC has now sought signed copies of the HC order.
Earlier,in an unprecedented verdict the BJP-led central government suffered a setback when the Uttarakhand High Court set aside President’s Rule in the state, restoring status quo ante with Congress leader Harish Rawat as the chief minister. Stung by the verdict the BJP led central government had challenged the HC verdict and sought a stay of the said order in the Supreme Court. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi was representing the Centre.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Harish Rawat, whose reinstatement as Uttarakhand chief minister was ordered by the high court but stayed by the Supreme Court said he respected the apex court ruling which has also stalled attempts to form a government through the “back door”.
“This decision will control the attempts to get a majority through back door and form a government that has no moral right to be there,” Rawat said in a reference to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. He said he and his party was confident about its victory in court as well as through democratic routes.
In its verdict , the Uttarakhand High Court had slammed the Centre for invoking Article 356. The Division Bench of the high court headed by Chief Justice KM Joseph said the imposition of President’s rule was contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court.
Further , directing the reinstatement of the Harish Rawat government, which was dismissed by the Centre on March 27, the court ordered that he should seek a vote of confidence in the Assembly on April 29.
Crucially it also upheld the disqualification of nine rebel Congress MLAs saying that they have to pay the price of committing the “Constitutional sin” of defection by being disqualified by the Speaker.
“The soul of the matter is whether it is open to the Central government to get rid of state governments, supplant or uproot the democratically- elected government, introduce chaos, undermine confidence of the little man who stands with a white paper to cast his vote braving the snow, heat and rain. We are of the view that be it suspension or dissolution, the effect is toppling of a democratically- elected government. It breeds cynicism in the hearts of citizens who participate in the democratic system and also undermines democracy and foundation of federalism,” the bench said. An upbeat Congress had hailed the verdict. Manish Tewari, Congress spokesperson said it was the first time that the HC has struck down President’s Rule.
(IANS with agencies )