SC orders Principal Secretary to act as observer of floor test

The 11th hour modification to the Supreme Court order directing a floor test came after Centre filed an urgent application on Monday.

Updated - November 17, 2021 04:29 am IST

Published - May 09, 2016 02:03 pm IST - NEW Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Monday noted that the atmosphere of animosity in the Uttarakhand Assembly has made the appointment of a neutral observer necessary for the floor test on May 10, and ordered the Principal Secretary, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of the State, to watch the floor test as court-appointed observer with a sense of “absolute objectivity and singularity of purpose of neutrality.”

The 11th hour modification to the Supreme Court order of May 6 directing a floor test to be conducted for deposed CM Harish Rawat to prove his majority in the House came after the Union government filed an urgent application on Monday.

The Centre said the April 6 order directed the 'Principal Secretary, Legislative Assembly' to monitor the floor test. However there is no such post.

Instead there is either the 'Secretary, Legislative Assembly' or the 'Principal Secretary, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs, State of Uttarakhand', who is also a judicial officer of the rank of district judge.

The Centre said the Secretary, Legislative Assembly, is a staffer of the Speaker, appointed by the latter and so there is an apprehension of how neutral the officer would be.

Appearing for Mr. Rawat, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the latter official - Principal Secretary, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs - is an 'outsider' and cannot be invited inside the House.

"This is a case where one side does not trust the other. Hence there is a necessity to have a neutral perceptionist to see that absolute objectivity is maintained when voting takes place.... Solely for aforesaid reason, we modify the order and direct the Principal Secretary, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs, Uttarakhand with the cadre of district judge to conduct himself with objectivity, singularity of purpose of neutrality", the Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and S.K Singh ordered, specifying that the floor test should go on as per schedule.

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