President’s rule in Uttarakhand will continue as arguments in the matter will go on and now resume on May 3. Extending interim stay on Nainital High Court’s order of quashing the President’s rule, the top court also ruled out floor test in Uttarakhand assembly, slated for April 29, as ordered by the High Court.
During the brief hearing on Wednesday, the bench framed few questions before the Union government, which will be replied in detail next week. The Supreme Court had last week stayed High Court’s order taking up the plea filed by Central government.
Posing questions before the Centre, the bench of Justice Dipak Mishra and Justice SK Singh asked “Could the Governor have sent the message in the present manner under Article 175 (2) for conducting floor test?,” and “Is disqualification of MLAs by the Speaker a relevant issue for the purposes of invoking President’s rule under Article 356”?
Stating that “Speaker is the master of the Assembly”, the court asked if proceedings in the Assembly can be considered by the President for imposing Central rule.
The bench also sought Centre’s answer to the question as to when the President’s role comes in picture with regard to Appropriation bill.
Earlier, passing interim orders on Friday, the apex court had imposed a rider that the Centre cannot revoke President’s rule till the matter is pending before it. Prior to the Supreme Court’s interim order, Harish Rawat was reinstated as the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and was slated to take a floor test on April 29.
In a landmark judgement, hailed by several jurists across the country, Uttarakhand High Court division bench of Chief Justice KM Joseph and Justice VK Bist had last week set aside the President’s rule in the state, restoring the assembly status as on March 27, the day President’s rule was imposed.
Pronouncing its verdict, Uttarakhand High Court ruled that President’s rule is a last resort and the Article 356 was imposed “contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court”. “Whatever material is submitted did not add up for a proclamation,” the division bench noted in its judgement quashing the President’s rule.
Uttarakhand was placed under President’s rule on March 27, a day before the incumbent Harish Rawat government was slated to go for the trust vote.
Defending its move to impose President’s rule, the Centre claimed there was a breakdown of governance in the state given rebellion within the ruling party and Rawat government’s failure to get Appropriation Bill passed. On its part, however, Congress party claimed that Appropriation Bill was passed by the voice vote.