The Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday stayed an order allowing the Harish Rawat-headed Congress government to hold a floor test in the state Assembly on Thursday. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre had challenged the interim order of a single division bench of the high court that permitted the Uttarakhand government to take a floor test.
The Centre's plea, which was heard by a division bench comprising Chief Justice KM Joseph and Justice VK Bisht, sought to clarify whether the floor test can be held after President’s Rule was imposed in the state, PTI reported. The court's earlier order had also allowed the nine rebel Congress legislators, who were suspended by the Assembly Speaker for defection, to participate in the process.
NDTV reported that the central government has to file an affidavit in the court by Monday, explaining why it feels President's Rule is necessary in Uttarakhand. The Congress can also file a rejoinder to the same, after which the court will hear the matter next on April 6, ANI reported.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who filed the petition on behalf of the Centre, questioned “the need to pass this judgement”, saying voting was suspended in the Assembly. “The Assembly building is empty; there is no government; there is no MLA once [Section] 356 (President's Rule) is in place,” he said. One of the rebel Congress MLAs, Subodh Uniyal, said they welcomed the decision. “It is a vindication of the decision to impose President Rule in the state,” he added.
The floor test, which was earlier scheduled for March 28, was cancelled after the Centre imposed President’s Rule in the state on Sunday.