Centre given time till May 6 for floor test feasibility

On Tuesday, the apex court had affirmed that a "floor test is the ultimate test" to decide who is in power.

Updated - November 17, 2021 05:05 am IST

Published - May 04, 2016 11:09 am IST

In a paradigm shift from its stock negativity to Supreme Court’s suggestion to conduct a floor test immediately in Uttarakhand to put an end to the controversy over > President’s Rule in the State, the Centre on Wednesday said it is "seriously considering" the apex court's suggestion for the sake of serving the cause of democracy.

A day after a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh reiterated its >earlier proposal to the Centre to have a floor test and end the constitutional impasse in the State, Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi submitted that he has conveyed the court's suggestion in right earnest to the government.

"I have not received any message from the government till morning. They are seriously considering the Honourable Court's suggestion and get back at the earliest by Friday (May 6)," Mr. Rohatgi informed the Bench.

The apex court took note of the change in the Centre's stand in the issue. "On the first day you said 'no'. Now you are saying we are seriously considering our suggestion to hold a floor test. Ok. Let's have it on Friday and see what you say on that day," Justice Misra reacted.

As the court was dictating its order, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and A.M. Singhvi, for Harish Rawat, interjected and said the court order should specify that the floor test suggested is a 'floor test on a vote of confidence motion'.

Mr. Rohatgi strongly objected to recording of such facets saying that in case of a floor test it would be an opportunity for "both parties (BJP and Congress) to prove their majority in the Uttarakhand State Assembly". But Justice Misra said that would not be the case and clarified the position in law.

The Bench made it clear that the floor test, if ordered by the apex court, would only be an opportunity for Mr. Rawat to prove his majority and not a window fof the formation of a new government. "We will not restore status quo ante. The first respondent (Rawat) should prove his majority in the floor test," Justice Misra observed.

Mr. Sibal seconded the position of law, saying that there are no "both parties here to prove majority". "The person who will be asked to conduct a floor test and prove his majority is the deposed Chief Minister of the State," he submitted.

However, the Bench did not record it's comments on this point and agreed with Mr. Rohatgi's contention that all this would be debated threadbare on May 6 after the government puts on record it's response.

Here Mr. Singhvi and Mr. Sibal jointly submitted that the apex court was not obliged to get the consent from the Centre before ordering a floor test. They said that in case the government's answer is a 'no' to the floor test, hearing in the petitions pending in the Supreme Court should continue.

Trust vote

On Tuesday, the apex court had affirmed that a “floor test is the ultimate test” to decide who is in power, and asked the Centre to consider having a trust vote in the Uttarakhand Assembly to determine whether the Harish Rawat-led Congress government has a majority.

Earlier, on April 27, the Supreme Court had ruled that Presiden't rule would continue in Uttarakhand, and it would not implement the Uttarakhand High Court judgment of April 21, which found the declaration of President's rule in the State on March 27 as unconstitutional.

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