Ambika Soni, the Congress Party general secretary in charge of the party's affairs in Uttarakhand,…
NEW DELHI: As the maxim goes that too many cooks spoil the broth, so is that too many legal brains spoil the case. Congress leaders are divided over whether the legal team that sought to test of strength on the floor of Assembly in Uttarakhand before the Nanital High Court did the right thing, rather than straight away contesting the presidential proclamation.
Noted lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Tuesday got a major reprieve for the ousted Congress government led by Harish Rawat as the High Court agreed with his argument and allowed the government to prove majority on the floor of Assembly. But just a day after, the order was stayed by the court, which also adjourned the hearing till April 6 to look into the larger issue of the legality of the presidential proclamation, thereby, giving a lever to the Centre.
Another group of party’s senior lawyers, who are rushing to Nainital to challenge the Ordinance issued by the Centre for allowing expenditure in the new fiscal in Uttarakhand under the President’s rule, say that legal team should have on Tuesday itself contested the imposition of Article 356 and sought ruling on that, rather than just satisfying themselves by getting an order on the floor test without the restoration of the government.
Asserting that the Union Cabinet has no authority to decide whether the Assembly passed the budget or not, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said it can be decided either by the Assembly Speaker or the Court. “The Government has come out with the Ordinance only to justify its wrong decision of invoking Article 356 to clamp President’s rule in the hill state,” he said. Sibal, also a senior lawyer, said he is going to Nainital to challenge on Friday the petition of the nine disqualified Congress MLAs and plead before the Uttarakhand High Court that the decision of the Speaker in the matter is final and not justiciable.
He hoped the Court will see the BJP’s mala fide attempt to engineer defections and set aside the order passed by it on Monday to allow the rebel MLAs to participate in the floor test. The case is listed before the same single judge bench of Justice Umesh Chandra Dhyani who had ordered the floor test on Thursday that was stayed by a division bench headed by the High Court chief justice on Wednesday.
Sibal said the Speaker had declared the budget passed by a voice vote on March 18 and if the Centre thought it were not so, it should not have kept silence for all these days. “Obviously the Centre thought the BJP will be able to form the government in the state by getting a stay on the disqualification of the Congress rebels. On realising that the Harish Rawat government would survive in the floor test on March 28 as ordered by the Governor, they imposed the President’s rule on the pretext that the Appropriation Bill was not passed.” Congress has now divided labour between its two top legal teams. While Sibal-led team will deal with the disqualification case on Friday, Singhvi will handle ousted Rawat’s petition challenging the President’s rule that has been now listed before the division bench headed by Chief Justice KM Joseph in Nainital next Wednesday.