President’s Rule to continue in Uttarakhand: Supreme Court (Roundup)

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New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) President’s Rule will continue in Uttarakhand till further orders, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday, implying that there will be no April 29 floor test for the ousted Congress government as ordered by the state high court.

The apex court said the hearing would resume from May 3 on the central government’s plea challenging the Uttarakhand High Court order that had revoked President’s Rule in the hill state.

The top court extended its April 22 interim ruling, putting on hold the high court order and allowing the central government to amend its petition challenging the high court order after a detailed judgment was made available on Wednesday.

The apex court bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh said they would hear the matter for three days and pronounce their judgment before the summer break by mid-May.

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Meanwhile, the Congress welcomed the order, insisting it expects a fair and favourable judgment from the apex court soon after it begins hearing the matter again from May 3.

“We expect fair and favourable judgment from the Supreme Court which has put off the case to May 3. We expect the court will give the final verdict on this issue soon,” party spokesperson Madhu Yakshi Goud told IANS.

The Congress also insisted that it will continue cornering the central government on the Uttarakhand issue as President’s Rule needs parliament’s approval for its legitimacy.

“We don’t agree with government’s argument that the issue can’t be discussed in parliament since it is sub judice. The President’s Rule needs approval from parliament; so despite the Supreme Court allowing it, the government needs to come to parliament as it was brought in through an ordinance,” Goud said.

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Ousted chief minister Harish Rawat has said he was happy that the Supreme Court had barred the Centre from attempting to form a BJP government in the state till the final judgment in the matter was pronounced.

However, Rawat’s predecessor Vijay Bahuguna, a Congress legislator, said holding fresh elections would be the best option to give a stable government to Uttarakhand.

“With the disqualification of nine legislators, the strength of the assembly stands diminished. Although we are challenging the disqualification, at the end of the day, fresh elections will provide a stable government in Uttarakhand,” he added.

The BJP said it would have proven its majority had the party been given an opportunity for a floor test.

“The Centre fulfilled its responsibility by proclaiming presidential rule in Uttarakhand as there was a constitutional breakdown. Now the matter is in the court. All I can say is that the Harish Rawat government has been in a minority. If the court had allowed a floor test, it would have been proved,” BJP spokesman Anil Baluni told IANS.

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The central government had imposed President’s Rule on Uttarakhand last month after receiving a report from the governor in which he had referred to some reports, alleging the Congress was involved in horse-trading to save its government.

Before that, assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal disqualified nine rebel Congress MLAs from the house when they expressed displeasure over the functioning of chief minister Harish Rawat.



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