The Uttarakhand high court said on Thursday it would be a travesty of justice if the Centre revokes President’s Rule and allows someone else to form a government in the state.
Continuing its hearing for the fourth day, the court told the Centre it could allow former chief minister Harish Rawat’s petition challenging the imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand and ensure that a floor test is held.
“Should we consider their application for stay moved on April 7? It was expected that till the judgement is pronounced, the central government will not recall (Article) 356.”
“If you recall 356 and call someone else to form a government, what else would it be other than travesty of justice,” a bench of chief justice KM Joseph and justice VK Bist said.
The court came down on the Centre’s counsel after it said that it was not in a position to give an assurance that the government would consider putting on hold the recall of its order imposing President’s Rule for a week. It gave the government’s counsel some time to take instructions.
The bench observed, “Otherwise you can do this in every state. Impose President’s Rule for 10-15 days and then ask someone else to take oath. More than angry, we are pained that you are behaving like this. That the highest authority - the Government of India - behaves like this. How can you think of playing with the court.”
“What if we allow the petition? Then things would go back to what it was prior to the President’s Rule and the state government will only have to prove majority by way of floor test. Can you take exception to that also?” the bench asked the Centre.
A political crisis broke out in the hill state in March when nine Congress MLAs rebelled against the ruling party, backed by the BJP, leading to Rawat being asked to prove his majority in a floor test. However, a day before the vote, the nine MLAs were disqualified from the assembly under the anti-defection law. Citing a constitutional breakdown, the centre imposed President’s rule on the state, deposing Harish Rawat as chief minister.