The political drama in Uttarakhand acquired a new turn today with the Division Bench of High Court staying till April 7 the floor test in the Assembly that was slated for tomorrow.
The two-judge bench gave the relief to the Centre and Uttarkhand, now under central rule, which had challenged the order of the single judge U C Dhyani, who had directed a floor test tomorrow.
The bench headed by Chief Justice K M Joseph posted the matter for April 6 for final hearing on the writ petition filed by ousted Chief Minister Harish Rawat challenging the imposition of President's Rule in the state.
"In view of the consent of the parties that the writ petition be posted to 06-04-2016 for being disposed of finally, we direct that the order, which is impugned in these appeals will be kept in abeyance till 07-04-2016," said the bench, also comprising Justice V K Bist, in a brief order
The order came after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, strongly opposed yesterday's order saying courts cannot interfere with the Presidential proclamation.
"How can a floor test be ordered when a Presidential proclamation is in force and the Assembly is in suspended animation," Rohatgi said.
He questioned for whom the floor test would be conducted since there is no government. He also asked who would be convening the session of Assembly which was in suspended animation.
The court asked AG what was the hurry for imposition of President's rule on March 27 as a floor test was scheduled for the next day and that would have been the best way to decide majority.
Justifying the Centre's action, the AG argued that "unconstitutional" developments had taken place in the Assembly on March 18 and horse-trading was underway.
According to the Centre, there was "breakdown of Constitutional machinery" when on March 18 the Appropriation Bill was declared as passed despite 35 out of 67 voting MLAs opposing it.
The AG argued that the Centre should be given a chance to explain its position on why the President's rule was imposed.
Rohatgi wondered how there could be two governments in place if the single-judge order was to be enforced.
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