Uttarakhand HC puts on hold Thursday’s assembly floor test

Dehradun, March 30 (IANS) Giving a reprieve to the BJP and the central government, a division bench of the Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday put on hold Thursday’s floor test in the assembly, setting aside Tuesday’s ruling by the single judge bench.

The two-judge bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice V.K. Bisht also fixed April 6 as the next date of hearing.

The division bench accepted the Centre’s plea challenging the single-judge bench order allowing the March 31 floor test for the ousted Harish Rawat government.

Appearing on behalf of the Centre, Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi, who rushed to Nainital for the case, argued in the court that no purpose would be served by a floor test as there was no government in the state.

Rohtagi said the order of the single judge bench was not right and the Centre has not dissolved the assembly.

Citing a Supreme Court order on Article 356, the attorney general said that during the proclamation of the Article, there cannot be any interim order.

The court wanted to know what was the justification of invoking Article 356 in the state.

The division bench also said that while there was flip-flop in the assembly on March 18, why had Governor K.K. Paul asked for a floor test on March 28.

Demanding a stay on the single bench judgment of Justice U.C. Dhyani, the attorney general maintained that the governor had sent his report to the president only after seeing the videography of the assembly proceedings.

Appearing for the Congress, counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that on March 18, the opposition sought for the division only after the assembly was adjourned.

He said that contrary to the claims by the BJP and the central government, the appropriation bill was passed before the adjournment of the proceedings.

The central government is expected to file an affidavit on its stand on the dispute regarding suspension of the state assembly and imposition of President’s Rule on the next date of hearing on April 6.

The division bench’s decision has come as a reprieve for the BJP and the Narendra Modi government, which had justified imposition of President’s Rule in the state.

BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya welcomed the division bench decision.

Meanwhile, the petition from rebel Congress MLAs including Subodh Uniyal against their disqualification by assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal will come before the court of Justice U.C Dhyani on April 1.

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