In a huge setback and embarrassment for Narendra Modi, the Uttarakhand High Court has set aside President’s rule proclamation in the hill state.
The court said that the government of India should have used Article 356 to dismiss the elected government of the state only as the last resort.
PTI reported that, according to the HC, the fate of 9 Congress MLAs was entirely irrelevant and extraneous to imposition of President’s rule.
It said, “9 dissident Congress MLAs have to pay the price of committing “Constitutional sin” of defection by being disqualified.”
The court said that the status quo as on date of proclamation of President’s rule should be restored adding that the government led by petioner Harish Rawat will revive.
A Congress MLA said that this verdict will set a precedent for how the BJP-led government will deal with opposition-run states.
Modi has been accused of interfering with the functioning of opposition-run states, allegedly in an attempt to destabilise the governance there.
Reacting to the development, Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal said, “This is a huge embarrassment to Modi Govt. He shud stop interfering wid elected govts and respect democracy. (sic)”
This is a huge embarrassment to Modi Govt. He shud stop interfering wid elected govts and respect democracy https://t.co/ufKtxCSlXW
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 21, 2016
Chief Minister Harish Rawat may now be allowed to seek trust vote even though it’s not clear if the nine disqualified Congress MLAs will be allowed to vote.
Supreme Court lawyer, Prashant Bhushan said that the verdict meant that Rawat was immediately restored in the office as chief minister.
Minister of State (Home) in Modi government, Kiren Rijiju, said it was not a setback for his government. The original mistake was committed by Harish Rawat, Rijiju told NDTV.
Senior BJP leader, Subramanian Swamy said that it was “Time to get a new AG and SG for the BJP Govt. With a new AG and SG we can win the Uttarakhand case. We had kep these two out of Arunachal and won (sic)”
He said that both AG and the SG were unprepared.
The Centre has already decided to challenge the High Court’s ruling in the Supreme Court.
However, today’s development has provided ample fodder to the creative imagination of cartoonist.
Popular cartoonist, Manjul, summed up the High Court’s ruling through this work of his:
— Maharashtra Congress (@mahcongress) April 21, 2016
This came after series of chiding by the High Court for the central government.
On Thursday, the Uttarakhand High Court had pulled up the Centre again using incredibly harsh language for its decision to impose the President’s Rule in the hill state.
According to NDTV, the HC said that ‘hope Centre doesn’t provoke us by cancelling the President’s Rule before our order.’
ANI had quoted the judges as saying, “Why don’t you give a definite instruction that you won’t revoke President’s rule for a week? Tomorrow if you revoke president rule and invite somebody it will be travesty of justice. Is government a private party? More than anger we are pained that you can behave like this. How can you be playing with court?”
The Centre had imposed President’s Rule in Uttarakhand on 27 March, a day before Chief Minister Harish Rawat was to prove his majority in the state assembly.
The Uttarakhand government entered into a crisis last month when nine Congress MLAs rebelled against Rawat and the BJP, which has 28 MLAs, staked claim to form the government.