In a severe indictment of the Centre’s decision to impose President’s rule in the state, the Uttarakhand High Court Thursday quashed the order saying it “undermines the foundation of federalism” and “toppling of a democratically elected government… breeds cynicism in the hearts of citizens who participate in a democratic system”.
Allowing the petition of ousted Chief Minister Harish Rawat of the Congress, the bench of Chief Justice K M Joseph and Justice V K Bist directed him to take a floor test on April 29.
The bench also said that the nine Congress MLAs who had defected and aligned with the opposition BJP will have to pay the price “for their sin”: “It is a constitutional sin to defect. If defection takes place, they have to pay for their sin.”
The bench clarified that its observations on the nine rebels must “not (be) treated as anything to trammel the court (the single-judge bench) that is considering their disqualification… the court (single-judge bench) will take an independent decision based on the material before it and by applying its mind.” Justice U C Dhyani will hear the matter Saturday. The two judges did not spare the Congress either, observing that the party “has not covered itself with glory” insofar as President’s rule is concerned.
“It is to be remembered that power under Article 356 came in for considerable misuse. Incidentally, we must notice that the party to which the petitioner (Rawat) belongs has not covered itself with glory. In the first 40 years of independence, nearly 100 cases of dissolution took place.” Observing that imposition of President’s rule has to be used as a “last resort” and “with greatest care”, the bench ordered: “Proclamation (of President’s rule) stands quashed… elected state government will revive… petition must succeed.”…read more