Other States

Appropriation Bill cannot be altered or voted upon: Singhvi

Arguments continued in the Nainital High Court, on Wednesday on the imposition of President's rule in Uttarakhand where the former Chief Minister, Harish Rawat, was represented by senior lawyer and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, and the Central government by Additional Solicitors-General Tushar Mehta and Maninder Singh.

The Central government had made the "unconstitutional passing" of the Appropriation Bill in the Assembly the basis for imposition of President's rule.

On April 1, in a special petition filed in the High Court, Congress MLA Indira Hridayesh and 31 other party MLAs challenged the imposition of President's rule.

The argument in the High Court was in continuation of the hearing held on March 31, where Mr. Rawat challenged the grounds for invoking Article 356, and the Union of India argued that the Appropriation Bill was "unconstitutionally shown as passed" in the Assembly by Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal when majority of the 67 MLAs present ihad voted against the Bill.

However, arguing that the Bill "cannot be altered or voted upon", Mr. Singhvi said that invoking Article 356 to impose President's rule was "baseless and wrong".

On Wednesday, Mr. Singhvi argued in the Nainital High Court: "The Appropriation Bill is a sum of its parts. The Bill need not be voted upon. On March 18, the Speaker showed the Bill as passed, however, the BJP MLAs and nine MLAs of the Congress alleged that the Speaker passed the Appropriation Bill unconstitutionally.... On Monday we come to know that President's basis of imposing Presidential Proclamation was that Appropriation Bill was not filed.

“On March 18 the Speaker declared the Bill as passed. But the BJP said Bill was not passed. The grounds on which the Appropriation Bill is being shown as not passed is wrong because its parts were passed earlier [on March 17 and morning if March 18]. One Harak Singh Rawat also moved the demand for his ministry and got it passed but on March 18 he said the Appropriation Bill was not passed."

Mr. Singhvi argued that when the parts of the Bill were passed earlier, also by some MLAs who got finances of their departments passed under the Bill, then there was no basis of objecting to the Appropriation Bill on March 18. "The Appropriation Bill is a sum of its parts and its parts were passed earlier," Mr Singhvi argued on Wednesday.

The matter is being heard by the Division Bench of Chief Justice K M Joseph and Justice V K Bisht. The hearing on the case will continue on Thursday.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 3:13:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/presidents-rule-in-uttarakhand-arguments-in-nainital-high-court/article8441467.ece

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