Somewhere in Uttarakhand....

In a relief to the Centre, a division bench of the Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday effectively put on hold the controversial floor test scheduled for Thursday to test the Harish Rawat government's majority till April 7. A two-judge bench of the HC directed that Tuesday's order of a single bench allowing floor test of the dismissed Congress government despite imposition of central rule on March 27 “be kept in abeyan ce“ till April 7. Although the Centre had appealed against the single judge bench's order, counsel for former chief minister Harish Rawat also agreed that the floor test be kept in abeyance.
The case will be heard from April 6. The decision, announced with the consent of both sides involved in the writ challenging imposition of central rule, is a reprieve for the Centre as Congress had celebrated the order to hold floor test as a vindication of its stand that the dismissal of Harish Rawat government was politically motivated and illegal. Though the single judge bench had not stayed the presidential proclamation, it's decision had been challenged on the ground that a floor test cannot be ordered as long as the state is under central rule. During Wednesday's arguments, attorney general Mukul Rohtagi said the order had “created an innocuous position, in the sense that Article 356 has neither been quashed nor been stayed fully.“
The division bench order, passed by chief justice K M Joseph and Justice V K Bisht, also directed that the central government can file a counter affidavit by Monday, April 4, whereas Harish Rawat may file a rejoinder by Tuesday, April 5.
Clarifying the difference between a `stay' on the order and keeping it 'in abeyance', senior advocate Avtar Singh Rawat said that “Staying an order and keeping it in abeyance are two different things. Keeping an order `in abeyance' means the order may get implemented after examining its various aspects and that for now, it has been kept in a neutral state.“
Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared in court on behalf of Rawat, said the double bench order had been passed with the consent of all the parties. “The matter could have dragged for a long time as there would have be an appeal after appeal against the previous order but now I hope it will not take more than a week or two in the whole matter.“
Earlier, in day long arguments that began around 12.15 pm and lasted for more than four hours, attorney Rohatgi, appearing on be half of the Union government, argued the order passed by the single bench had not gone through the material supplied to the Centre and the President of India.
In a related development, Indira Hridayesh, senior Congress leader and former parliamentary affairs minister, also filed a special appeal which requested the nine disqualified Congress MLAs should not be allowed to vote as they were no longer members of the state assembly.
On Tuesday, the single bench of Justice UC Dhyani, in an order that had surprised many, allowed Harish Rawat to take a floor test in the assembly on March 31 to prove his strength. All nine Congress rebels who had gone against the party during the budget session and had on Sunday been disqualified by speaker Govind Singh Kunjwa were also to be included in the floor test, the order had directed. The rebels had argued that since no vote was recorded in the House, action against them was illegal.

No comments: