Rawat govt revived but petition against Prez rule remains pending

  • Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 13, 2016 16:31 IST
Progressive Democratic Front chief Mantri Prasad Naithani offers sweets to Congress leader Harish Rawat. (PTI)

The Supreme Court may have revived the Congress-led government in Uttarakhand but the Centre can still hope to salvage some prestige as the question of validity of President’s rule in the state is yet to be decided. An adverse verdict could further embarrass the NDA government in what has so far been a politically bruising battle.

“The issue of justifiability of the proclamation of President’s Rule that was made on March 27, 2016 which has been annulled by the impugned order passed by the High Court will remain alive…” said a bench of justice Dipak Misra and justice Shiva Kirti Singh after declaring Rawat a winner in the May 10 trust vote.

Though the exercise will not have a direct bearing on the fate of Harish Rawat government, a judicial finding upholding the legality of decision regarding imposition of the President’s rule can give the NDA government and the BJP a face-saver.

Noting that the Uttarakhand high court gave many a reason to arrive at the conclusion that the imposition of President’s rule was not tenable in law, the bench said it needed to be scrutinised whether it was justified or not.

“We directed floor test on concession of the parties and we had varied the order today on a prayer being made by the Union of India,” it clarified.

The top court said it was required to be examined if within the scope of judicial review, such a finding could have been arrived at by the high court or if the decision arrived at to proclaim the President’s rule was justified.

The court – which refused to allow nine disqualified rebel Congress MLAs to take part in Tuesday’s floor test – kept pending their petition challenging the May 9 decision of the Uttarakhand high court upholding state assembly speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal’s decision to disqualify them. “What will be the effect, if in the ultimate eventuate case the disqualification is set at naught would be a matter of debate,” it said.

The petition of disqualified MLAs is to be taken up for hearing on July 12 after the summer vacation.

The apex court has posted the matter for “production of the order of revocation” on Friday when it will fix hearing of the special leave petitions on merits.

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