Uttarakhand crisis: HC rejects Centre’s plea

The former Chief Minister, Harish Rawat had challenged the imposition of President’s rule in the State.

Updated - September 08, 2016 07:09 pm IST

Published - April 06, 2016 12:55 pm IST - Dehradun

A division bench of the Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday rejected the Central government’s plea to adjourn the hearing of a case challenging President’s Rule in Uttarakhand.

On March 18, nine MLAs belonging to the Congress party had voted with the BJP, the main Opposition Party, against the Appropriation Bill in the State Assembly.

Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal showed the Bill as “passed,” but the Congress rebels and the BJP alleged that the majority had voted against.

On Monday, the Centre filed a counter affidavit in the High Court stating that the Speaker’s action was “unconstitutional.”

On Tuesday, former Chief Minister Harish Rawat, in a rejoinder, said the proceedings of the State Assembly of March 17 must also be considered and a decision must not be taken solely on the basis of the happenings on March 18.

Additional Solicitors General Tushar Mehta and Maninder Singh, representing the Central government, argued on Wednesday that they needed three days to file their response to Harish Rawat’s rejoinder.

> Understanding the Uttarakhand crisis

“The main case is what happened in the Assembly on March 18. Now it is being said that something happened on March 17 too. We need reasonable time to present our side,” Mr. Mehta told the court.

However, the bench of Chief Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice V.K. Bisht gave the Centre one day to file its rejoinder.

Intentions suspect: Singhvi Senior lawyer and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Mr. Rawat, argued that the Appropriation Bill “cannot be altered” and “the Speaker was the ultimate authority for decisions on the Bill.”

The Central government or the Governor could not sit in judgment on the actions of the Speaker.

Mr. Singhvi argued that parts of the Appropriation Bill were passed earlier by the Congress MLAs, including some of the rebels themselves.

Since they had got the finances of their departments passed under the Bill, there was no basis for their objection on March 18. “The Appropriation Bill is a sum of its parts and its parts were passed earlier,” Mr Singhvi argued.

Imposition of President’s Rule in the State a day before the scheduled floor test showed the wrong intentions of the Centre.

The hearing will continue on Thursday.

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