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SC favours trust vote in Uttarakhand

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would temporarily suspend President’s Rule to facilitate the floor test in Uttarakhand.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would temporarily suspend President’s Rule to facilitate the floor test in Uttarakhand.  

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The Supreme Court adjourned till Wednesday the hearing on the Centre’s appeal against the Uttarakhand High Court verdict revoking President's rule in the State.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday 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.

A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh called the Uttarakhand case out-of-turn in the morning and asked Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi to seek instructions from the government on the court’s suggestion to have a floor test immediately, to end the constitutional impasse.

The court said it would temporarily suspend President’s Rule to facilitate the floor test.

Mr. Rohatgi agreed to return on Wednesday with the government’s response. The court has been suggesting a floor test since the previous hearing on April 27.

It had expressed its displeasure to both parties — the Centre and Mr. Rawat — for trading allegations on horse trading and the airing of a sting operation featuring the former Chief Minister allegedly discussing pay-offs.

‘Dent in democracy’

“Both horse trading and airing of sting operation create a dent in democracy. That is why we said that a floor test is the ultimate test,” Justice Misra had observed.

The Bench had suggested that a floor test be conducted immediately after lifting President’s Rule for three days. The results of the exercise could be submitted in court, it had proposed.

Proposal shot down

But this proposal was shot down by Mr. Rohatgi in the last hearing. The A-G instead asked the court to first decide the validity of the proclamation (of President’s Rule) before a floor test was held. “There cannot be a President's Rule and a floor test at the same time,” he had said.

In fact, the Centre, which won a stay in the apex court against a High Court decision on April 21 to lift President’s Rule, had argued that what happened in the legislature on March 18 when the Money Bill was tabled was itself a floor test.

It contended that the Rawat government was reduced to a minority on that date when the Assembly Speaker refused a division of votes on the Bill, despite the request of a “majority” 35 MLAs (26 BJP MLAs and nine Congress rebels) in the Assembly.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 6:21:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/uttarakhand-assembly-sc-to-hear-centres-appeal-tomorrow/article8551209.ece

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