(From PTI)

Dealing a major blow to Modi government, the Uttarakhand High Court Thursday quashed the imposition of President’s rule in the state and revived the Congress government headed by Harish Rawat, who has been asked to prove his majority on April 29.

Harish Rawat
Harish Rawat

Rawat’s government was dismissed on March 27 on the grounds of a “breakdown of constitutional machinery” in a decision that came after a rebellion in the ruling Congress.

Coming down heavily on the Centre for the March 27 proclamation under Article 356, a division bench of the high court headed by Chief Justice K M Joseph said the imposition of the President’s rule was contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court.

Allowing ousted chief minister Harish Rawat’s petition challenging the presidential proclamation, the bench, also comprising Justice V K Bist, observed that the material considered for imposing President’s rule “has been found wanting”.

Upholding the disqualification of nine dissident Congress lawmakers, the court said they have to pay the price of committing the “constitutional sin” of defection.

Ordering restoration of the Rawat government, the court asked the ousted chief minister to prove his government’s majority on the floor of the Assembly on April 29.

The court also turned down an oral plea made by the Centre’s counsel for a stay on its judgement to move the Supreme Court against it. The bench said it would not stay own judgement.

“You can go to the Supreme Court and get a stay,” it said.

 The issue came to the division bench of the court after a single judge ordered a floor test on March 28 following controversy over the passage of Appropriation Bill on March 18 with the BJP and dissident Congress MLAs claiming the money Bill had fallen and the government has lost its majority.
A day before the floor test was to have been held, the Centre imposed President’s Rule on March 27 citing breakdown of constitutional machinery as a ground. Rawat approached the division bench challenging the imposition of the President’s rule.

‘Uttarakhand has got justice’

Rawat hailed the high court decision to quash President’s Rule in the State as a victory for the people.

“Uttarakhand has got justice,” he told the media shortly after the Uttarakhand High Court gave a ruling.

“We welcome the high court decision. This is a victory for the people of Uttarakhand,” Rawat said, and urged the central government to stick to its stated policy of “cooperative federalism.”

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