BJP likely to challenge Uttarakhand HC order

New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) Stunned by the Uttarakhand High Court order directing a trial of strength for the dismissed Harish Rawat government, the BJP seems to have no other option other than challenging Tuesday’s order either in the Supreme Court or before a bigger bench of the high court.

“The matter seems to be purely technical and legal. Today’s impugned order can be challenged in a higher court or a bigger bench in the same high court itself,” a BJP source said.

The source, however, made it clear that they were waiting for the full text of the court order to make any final observation on the same.

Hearing a petition by sacked chief minister Rawat, the high court on Tuesday allowed President’s Rule in the hill state to continue till the floor test.

The court said all nine Congress rebels who were disqualified by the speaker will be allowed to take part in the vote.

It said the result of the voting should be presented to the court on Friday. It ordered the registrar general of the court to be present as an observer in the assembly.

Meanwhile, constitutional expert Subhas Kashyap, a former secretary general of the Lok Sabha, told IANS: “Without seeing the full order of the judgment, it may not be proper to pass any comment; but the high court is empowered to put a stay or cancel the speaker’s ruling against the nine rebel Congress MLAs.”

Kashyap said that without stay or cancellation of the speaker’s ruling, the disqualified legislators cannot take part in the vote of confidence.

Many BJP leaders on the condition of anonymity said that on face value, the high court order has certain “grey areas”.

“The order, as we know now, talks about a trial of strength on March 31. But the fact of the matter is the assembly is under suspended animation and only a presidential order can revoke that,” a source said.

The BJP may build up the case around the argument that a floor test cannot happen on its own.

“As per constitutional norms, only a governor can summon a sitting of a house. It is normally done at the recommendation of the leader of the house. Now to call Harish Rawat leader of the house is again debatable,” a source said.

Moreover, the court’s ruling that the nine rebel Congress MLAs be allowed to take part in the vote actually challenges the autonomy of the legislature and questions the power of the speaker, who otherwise enjoys quasi-judicial powers.

“There is a precedent. In the 1990s, Manipur assembly Speaker Borababu Singh had refused to entertain a ruling from the Gauhati High Court and the matter later scaled up into a fierce battle even in the Supreme Court,” sources said.

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