The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday set aside the order imposing President's Rule in the state. Article 356, according to which the president can assume the functions of the state government as well as the governor's executive powers, had been imposed contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court, the bench comprising Chief Justice KM Joseph and Justice VK Bist said, PTI reported. The Congress government in the state will have to prove its majority in the Assembly on April 29. The Centre will challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court.
Earlier, the court asked the Centre to assure it that President’s Rule will not be revoked in the state for the next one week. The bench said it would be a “travesty of justice” if President’s Rule were revoked and someone now formed a government in the state, PTI reported.
Its comments came after counsel for the central government said he could not provide such assurance. The judges said they were “pained” that the government was behaving in such a manner. The high court was hearing a petition challenging the imposition of President's Rule in the state, an order that was passed on March 27, a day before Harish Rawat was asked to prove his majority in the state Assembly.
The court had earlier told the Centre that it did not doubt the wisdom of the president, but that the matter was subject to judicial review. On Tuesday it had criticised the Centre for imposing President’s Rule in the state and said such interference should be reserved only for extraordinary situations. Earlier, a bench had asked Rawat to prove his majority on the House floor on March 31, but the order was stayed.
The central government in March had imposed President’s Rule in the state because of a “breakdown of governance”. It came less than a fortnight after a political crisis triggered by a rebellion in the ruling Congress party. President Pranab Mukherjee had signed the proclamation, dismissing the Harish Rawat-headed Congress government and placing the Assembly under suspended animation on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet.