SC stays Uttarakhand HC judgement quashing President's Rule

Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi assured the SC that President's Rule will not be revoked and that BJP would not form government till April 27.

April 22, 2016 04:58 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 10:55 pm IST - New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Friday restored President’s Rule in Uttarakhand till April 27, barely a day after the Uttarakhand High Court quashed the Centre’s decision and restored the Harish Rawat-led Congress government.

A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh admitted the Centre’s challenge to the High Court decision and brought back President’s rule in the State for the simple reason that the judgment, dictated on April 21 by Uttarakhand Chief Justice K.M. Joseph in open court, was not yet available in the public domain.

Justice Joseph is currently in New Delhi to attend the three-day Chief Justices’ Conference.

The Bench said the High Court judgment would “remain in abeyance” till April 27, the next date of hearing in the Supreme Court. It further directed the High Court to release the signed judgment by April 26 to the parties, who will file copies in the apex court.

The Supreme Court recorded an oral undertaking from Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi that the Centre would not in the meantime revoke President’s Rule in the State before April 27 as a ploy to install a BJP government. The High Court, in its judgment, had scheduled a floor test on April 29.

Centre’s plea based on inputs from law officer

Tensions peaked in the Supreme Court on Friday after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi mentioned the revocation of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand by the High Court in the morning before the Bench, filling in for Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, who was absent due to the ongoing Chief Justices' Conference. The Bench directed the Registrar General of the Supreme Court to refer the Centre's appeal to the CJI, who listed it back on Justice Misra's Bench to be heard at 3.30 p.m.

The afternoon's hearing started with Mr. Rohatgi submitting that the High Court had not yet released the judgment dictated in court and the Centre's petition was drafted on the basis of inputs provided by a law officer by phone and in a letter from Nainital. He sought a stay of the High Court judgment.

Aghast at the turn of events, senior advocate Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, counsel for Mr. Rawat objected that the apex court could not allow the State to slip back into President's Rule merely because the judgment copy was not out.

“How can the only ground for stay (of High Court judgment) be non-availability of the judgment?” Mr. Singhvi asked.

“We are only making the judgment of the Uttarakhand High Court not implementable till the copy of the judgment is out,” Justice Singh explained. He said it was not quite proper for the High Court to have dictated the judgment without immediately making available the signed copies for parties.

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