NEW DELHI,MANAN KUMAR: In a huge setback to the Modi government, Uttarakhand high court revoked the President’s rule in the hill state on Thursday.
In an unprecedented decision, the court resorted to status quo ante, putting the clock back to March 27 position thus restoring the Congress government in Uttarakhand under the chief ministership of Harish Rawat.
The court held that the floor test will be done on April 29.
“We are pained that you can behave like this,” the bench led by chief justice KM Joseph observed, when the Centre’s counsel said it cannot guarantee whether President’s Rule will be revoked in Uttarakhand.
Asking Centre to give definite assurance not to revoke President’s rule for a week, the court had said, “Tomorrow, if you revoke President’s Rule and invite somebody, it will be a travesty of justice.”
Observing that “dissolution of elected government breeds cynicism in citizens”, the court noted that the union cabinet decided to impose President’s rule without verifying the authenticity of the sting operation done on Rawat.
BJP, Centre go into a huddle
Soon after the verdict, an embarrassed central government went into a huddle to decide on further course of action – whether to challenge the revocation of President’s Rule in the Supreme Court or not?
“It is a detailed order, will got through and take a decision on whether to approach the Apex Court by tomorrow,” said attorney general, Mukul Rohtagi who represented Centre at the Nainital high court.
Home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley and BJP party president Amit Shah also discussed the issue threadbare in a long meeting.
Government is a little fidgety, said sources, as the high court has decided the case in the light of SR Bommai judgment and held that the imposition of President’s rule was contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court.
Maintaining a defiant stand, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said, “We are not surprised. With the kind of observations being made for the three days by the court, such an order was expected. There is a question on our mind as chief minister Harish Rawat, who was caught in a sting, has been given relief by the court.”
Vijayvargiya further said, “Rawat government was in a minority yesterday, is in a minority today and will remain so tomorrow. It will be proved on April 29.”
Vijayvargiya was in the forefront during Uttarakhand crisis and was camping in Dehradun since March 14.
Jubilant Congress demands apology from PM
The decision came as a shot in the arm for the Congress party. It also seemed to have catapulted Harish Rawat into bigger league for emerging victorious.
However, wary of BJP, the Congress said is going to file a caveat in the Apex court seeking not to pass any order without hearing them.
Hailing the verdict as a victory of democracy and people of Uttarakhand, Rawat said, “They are powerful, mighty and broad chested. We do not talk of fighting, but talk of cooperation. I would request the Centre to forget the past and work in the spirit of cooperative federalism.”
Spurring into action to attack BJP, an elated Congress demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah for “trampling” democracy and “murdering” the constitution.
Party spokesperson, Ranjit Singh Surjewala said, it it proves the full majority which Congress enjoys and the “sinister conspiracies” which are being hatched from Arunachal Pradesh to Uttarakhand and many other states to dislodge elected governments by “foul means, use of money and muscle power” should now at least come to an end.
“Prime Minister Modi and Amit Shah should learn a lesson from this decisive and resounding verdict,” he said.
“The imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand was unconstitutional. The court said when there is horse-trading and corruption, there are more reasons for protest… In the history of Independent India, this is the first time that within 10 days floor test has been ordered to be conducted. We hope that those who are watching different states with greedy eyes should learn a lesson,” said Abhishek Manu Singhvi.