Even President’s decision can be reviewed: U’khand HC

RSTV Bureau
FILE: New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee reading excerpts from his memoir "The Turbulent Years: 1980-96" during its release at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday, January 26, 2016. Photo - PTI

FILE: New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee reading excerpts from his memoir “The Turbulent Years: 1980-96″ during its release at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday, January 26, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Hearing the plea challenging imposition of President’s Rule in the state, Uttarakhand High Court observed that legitimacy of the President’s decision to suspend Uttarakhand assembly is subject to judicial review as even he can go wrong. President’s Rule was imposed on the state on March 27, a day before then incumbent Harish Rawat government was due to face the floor test.

Referring to the NDA government’s argument that the President took the decision to impose Article 356 of the Constitution in his “political wisdom”, the division bench of Chief Justice KM Joseph and Justice VK Bist said, “People can go wrong, be it the President or the judges.”

The court also went on to say that “Legitimacy of inference drawn by President from the material placed before him is open to judicial review,” when the Centre contended that President’s understanding of the material before him would be different from that of the court.

During the course of hearing, the high court also noted that in his reports to the President, Governor KK Paul never mentioned that 35 MLAs sought division of votes.

“Governor has to be personally satisfied. He has not recorded his personal satisfaction that 35 MLAs had sought division on the floor of the house,” the court said highlighting that Governor’s reports do not say that the nine rebel Congress MLAs had also sought a division.

“So how did Government of India arrive at the satisfaction that 35 stood up? From Governor’s reports?” the court questioned Centre.

“Governor’s letter of March 19 to the President does not mention that 35 MLAs had sought division of votes. That is conspicuous by its absence. It is absolutely crucial,” the bench said.

To this the Centre said that on March 19 the Governor did not have all the details. According to the latest reports, the arguments in the matter is still going on.

The Centre on Tuesday faced tough questions with division bench repeatedly maintaining that irrespective of allegations of horse-trading and corruption, the only Constitutional way to test majority was to hold a floor test, which “you still have to go for”.

(With inputs from the PTI)