The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended President’s rule in Uttarakhand, ruling out a floor test in the state assembly that was scheduled on April 29.
The next hearing in the case will be on on May 3.
The Centre is likely to file an amended petition against Uttarakhand high court’s verdict by Friday. The SC has asked former chief minister Harish Rawat to respond to Centre’s amended petition by Monday.
Earlier in the day, the apex court asked the Centre seven questions pertaining to the President’s rule in Uttarakhand as it heard a petition challenging a high court order restoring the Congress government in the state.
The seven questions posed by the apex court to the Centre were:
1. Whether governor could have sent message in present manner under Article 175 (2) to conduct floor test?
2. Whether governor can ask Assembly Speaker for division of votes as both are Constitutional authorities?
3. Can a delay in the floor test be ground for proclamation of President’s rule in state?
4. Convention is money bill failed, government goes but who is to say money bill hasn’t been passed if Speaker doesn’t say so?
5. What is the stage of appropriation bill and when President’s rule comes in the picture with regards to Appropriation bill?
6. Whether disqualification of MLAs by the Speaker is a relevant issue for the purpose of imposing President’s rule under Article 356?
7. Can proceeding in the Uttarakhand Assembly be taken note by the President for imposing President’s rule?
Uttarakhand chief secretary has nothing to do with the present matter, said the apex court while hearing Centre’s appeal against Nainital high court order.
“The Speaker is the master of the Assembly,” said SC.
The political crisis in the state emerged after nine Congress MLAs revolted and sided with the opposition BJP during a debate over the state budget in March. They were however disqualified under the anti-defection law. Following their disqualification, governor KK Paul asked Rawat to prove his majority in the assembly.
A day before the trust vote, the Centre imposed President’s rule under Article 356 citing a constitutional breakdown in state machinery.
The ruling party and Rawat filed a petition in the Uttarakhand high court challenging the Centre’s imposition.
Attorney general Mukul Rohtagi argued that the constitutional breakdown was because Rawat had indulged in corruption. However, Rawat’s counsel, Abhishek Manu Singhvi denied the allegations.
On April 21, a high court division bench headed by Justice KM Joseph quashed President’s rule in the state and reinstated the Rawat government. But the Centre immediately challenged the high court’s verdict in the Supreme Court, leading to the state government being suspended again.
The stay order on the high court verdict was given after Rohatgi gave an undertaking that the Centre would not revoke Article 356 until April 27.
With inputs from ANI tweets