‘Verdict affirms faith in democracy, judiciary’

The Congress accuses the BJP government at the Centre of "misusing" Article 356.

Updated - November 17, 2021 04:36 am IST

Published - April 22, 2016 12:25 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Reinstated Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat celebrates the court’s ruling with his supporters in Dehradun on Thursday.

Reinstated Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat celebrates the court’s ruling with his supporters in Dehradun on Thursday.

The Congress on Thursday celebrated the Uttarakhand High Court verdict quashing the President’s rule imposed on the State last month and affirmed its faith in Indian democracy and judiciary. The party also favoured a resolution in the Rajya Sabha condemning the BJP government at the Centre for “destabilising the Uttarakhand government.”

“There is no king or absolutism. Howsoever high you are, the law is above you. Legitimacy of relevant inference drawn from the material that is placed before the President is open to judicial review,” said senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi at a press briefing here.

Mr. Singhvi accused the BJP government at the Centre of “misusing” Article 356 and placing a stay on the order of Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal calling for a floor test in the House last month.

“Never in the history of Independent India has the Central government imposed President’s Rule to stay the order of a Speaker,” Mr. Singhvi said. “We would remind the BJP that they can form the government only through the mandate of the people and not through misuse of Article 356.”

Praising the judiciary, Mr. Singhvi said there was a lesson to be learnt from the judgment — that it was not easy to dislodge democratically elected governments.

In defence of the Harish Rawat government that was thrown into suspended animation after the Centre recommended President’s rule, Mr. Singhvi said the Governor sent three messages repeatedly calling for a floor test in the Assembly on March 28. “What is astonishing is that the Chief Minister wrote back twice saying I fully agree with the floor test and as per your direction we will have it on the 28th. This is the first time in history when a Chief Minister has agreed with the Governor and yet President’s Rule was imposed,” he said.

Mr. Singhvi said President Pranab Mukherjee had little role in dislodging the Harish Rawat government as it was the Centre which often took the “cover of the President’s name” to pursue BJP’s political agendas.

“The President has very limited role because he has to sign [Cabinet recommendation for President’s Rule]. At the most, he can refuse once,” he said.

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