The Supreme Court’s order for a floor test in Uttarakhand Assembly on May 10 is unprecedented in many ways, for it lifts the President’s rule for just two-and-half-hours but does not revive the Harish Rawat government.
Instead, the Supreme Court said Governor KK Paul would remain in-charge of the state during the brief period when floor test would be held.
“We direct that Presidential Proclamation shall remain in abeyance from 10.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. on 10th May, 2016, and during that period the Governor shall remain in-charge of the State,” ordered a bench of justice Dipak Misra and justice Shiva Kirti Singh.
Second, this is perhaps for the first time that a chief minister is facing a floor test without he being in office and without a council of minister being there.
Former Lok Sabha Secretary General PDT Achary said: “A floor test is held to decide whether the House has confidence in the council of ministers. The present order is not clear on this point. How can a chief minister seek a vote of confidence without a council of ministers?”
Third, the order silent on the role of Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal during the floor test. The top court has ordered the Principal Secretary of the assembly to “see to it that the voting is appositely done and recorded,” the bench said.
It also decided on the mode of voting, computation of votes, the person in-charge, the control to be made outside the House, the smooth functioning of House and entry of MLAs.
Achary said: “The procedure suggested by the Supreme Court is totally alien to the rules of procedure of the House. No mention has been made of the role of the Speaker. As per rules, a sitting of the House is valid when the Speaker is presiding over it.”
But the court sought to justify the deviations. “As the parties (Centre and Rawat) have conceded to the floor test and we have recorded the method, to give effect to the same, there has to be a variation from the order passed by us on the earlier occasion…,” the SC said.
It said after 1.00 pm on Tuesday, the Uttarakhand high court’s division bench judgment quashing the President’s rule shall remain in abeyance and its April 22 order staying the HC verdict shall get revived.