Uttarakhand HC dismisses rebel MLAs petition; remain disqualified

NAINITAL:In a setback to the nine “rebel” Congress MLAs, the Uttarakhand High Court, on Monday, ordered that the MLAs who had been disqualified by the Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker shall remain disqualified and shall not be allowed to cast vote in the floor test that is scheduled for Tuesday.

A view of the Uttarakhand Assembly.

Dismissing the petition of the rebel MLAs, Single Bench of Justice UC Dhyani, on Monday said, “The MLAs can approach the Speaker [Govind Singh Kunjwal] and file a review petition before the Speaker on their disqualification.”

After the High Court verdict, the “rebel” MLAs approached the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will hear the petition today at 2 pm. Counsel for the MLAs C A Sundaram mentioned the matter before Chief Justice of India T S Thakur about the high court verdict that had come earlier in the day. The CJI asked the counsel to approach the bench which had on Friday ordered the floor test.

On March 18 the nine Congress MLAs had stood against their own party and had sided with the BJP when it asked for a division of votes on the Appropriation Bill. The MLAs were then given a show-cause notice by the Speaker and were disqualified on March 27.

The disqualification of the rebel MLAs will have a bearing on the floor test. While the nine MLAs remain disqualified, the Congress and the BJP are faced with the task of keeping their MLAs intact.

Excluding the nine disqualified Congress “rebel” MLAs, the floor test, which is scheduled for May 10, will involve 27 Congress MLAs, 28 BJP MLAs, six PDF members and one nominated member. The total members to vote being 62, deposed Mr Rawat will need 32 votes to be reinstated as the State’s chief minister.

On Friday the Supreme Court had said the disqualified MLAs would not be able to cast their vote as long as their disqualification remained. Now with the Order being reserved for Monday, it remains unclear whether the nine MLAs would be able to cast their votes during the floor test.

Excluding the nine disqualified Congress “rebel” MLAs, the floor test will involve 27 Congress MLAs, 28 BJP MLAs, six PDF members and one nominated member. The total members to vote being 62, Mr Rawat will need 32 votes to be reinstated as the chief minister.
By KAVITA UPADHYAY