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Uttarakhand crisis: HC defers rebel MLAs plea hearing to April 11

In the petition, rebels pointed out that the Speaker disqualified them on March 27, the day President ‘s rule was imposed in the state.

india Updated: Apr 01, 2016 19:53 IST
Harish rawat

The Uttarakhand High Court on Friday deferred the hearing of the nine rebel Congress legislators to April 11, after the their counsel sought some more time. (PTI Photo)

The Uttarakhand high court on Friday deferred the hearing of rebel Congress legislators to April 11 after their counsel sought some more time. Six out of the nine rebel MLA’s had moved the high court on March 30 challenging their disqualification by the speaker, Govind Kunjwal.

The rebels pointed out in the petition that the speaker had disqualified them on March 27 when President Rule’s was imposed in the state.

The single bench of the Nainital high court is likely to deliver its decision on Friday on the writ of rebel Congress legislators who have challenged Kunjwal’s decision to disqualify their membership.

The rebels, who reached Dehradun on Friday, said they will decide the future course of action after the court verdict. In the House of 70 members, Congress has 27 members while BJP has 28 -- including one expelled member. The Congress is hopeful that the court will not give any relief to the rebels. “We will move Supreme Court if we are dissatisfied with the HC verdict but let us wait till then,” Dinesh Agarwal, senior Congress legislator and former law minister told HT.

Meanwhile HC accepted a writ filed by Manan Sharma, demanding a CBI probe into the sting operation that showed Rawat allegedly striking a deal for rebels. The court will hear the petition after three weeks.

Former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat also filed a petition before the high court on behalf of Congress, challenging the Centre’s appropriation ordinance for the state.

The Uttarakhand finance secretary, Amit Negi, said on Friday that the President has given assent on vote on account ordinance for Rs 13,642 crores for the next four months.

Rawat said that any such ordinance on state finances beyond April 1 is unconstitutional and alleged that it was aimed at justifying the illegal clamping of the Centre’s rule in Uttarakhand.

The double bench of state chief justice KM Joseph and justice VK Bisht, while hearing the arguments, deferred the date of hearing on April 6. The court asked the Union government and petitioner Harish Rawat to file their rejoinder by April 5.

Putting forth his argument, Congress lawyer Kapil Sibal said the party has challenged the ordinance. “In our petition, we have said that the act committed by the central government is unconstitutional.”

“The budget was already passed in the state assembly and the central government could have gone to court against it,” said Sibal.

Sibal said it had become a trend to destabilise a government by luring some MLAs and imposing President’s Rule. After this, the house is suspended and efforts are made to cobble a majority, which leads to the formation of a new government.

Assistant solicitor general Rakesh Thapliyal, who was representing the Centre, said the government was following all democratic values and they would be filing a rejoinder to clear various points.