Uttarakhand crisis: Revocation of President’s Rule will be travesty of justice, HC tells Centre

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The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday sought assurance from the Centre that the President’s Rule will not be revoked in the state for at least a week.

Coming down heavily on the Centre, the two-judge bench of the high court said, ”Tomorrow if you revoke President’s Rule and invite somebody it will be travesty of justice.”

Is government a private party, it asked.

Rapping the Centre for the haste shown in imposing the President’s Rule here, the high court said, ”More than anger we are pained that you can behave like this, how can you be playing with court?.”

”Why don’t you give a definite instruction that you won’t revoke President’s Rule for a week,” it maintained.

The two-judge bench of the High Court made these observations while hearing former chief minister Harish Rawat’s plea challenging Centre’s decision to impose President’s Rule in the state.

While hearing the matter on Wednesday, the bench had said, ”President of India is not a king who is infallible but can go wrong and that his decision is open to judicial scrutiny.”

“Absolute power can spoil anybody’s mind. Even the President can go wrong and in such case his decisions can be subjected to scrutiny. Indian courts have the power to scrutinise all orders,” the court said.

The strong observations from the high court came as a bench of Chief Justice KM Joseph and BN Bisht was hearing outgoing Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat’s plea challenging the imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand.

 

Rawat’s counsel and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi contended that the Centre’s action to impose President’s Rule was not permissible on the pretext that the Governor had termed ‘controversial’ the assembly speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal’s approval to a legislation.

He said that the President, Governor or the Centre could not decide if the demand for a division of votes (in the assembly) should be accepted or not. This power rested with the assembly speaker, Singhvi said and added that the Governor’s report sent to the Centre did not mention any constitutional crisis in the state.

The counsel stressed that the majority or otherwise of the government is decided only on the assembly floor.

The high court had earlier criticised the Centre during a previous hearing over the imposition of the President’s Rule in Uttarakhand on March 27, a day before a floor test was due to be carried out in the assembly.

Uttarakhand was plunged into a political crisis when nine Congress legislators, including former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, whom Rawat replaced, revolted against the chief minister and turned to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for support.

In the 70-member assembly, the Congress has 36 legislators, including the nine rebels. The BJP has 28. The other six members, from smaller parties, are said to support the Congress.

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