Prez rule temporary measure: Venkaiah
The imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand was a temporary measure and the Assembly could have been revived on the basis of the Governor’s report, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Friday.
Naidu said the Centre was very clear that there was a constitutional breakdown in Uttarakhand because the Appropriation Bill was not passed in the Assembly.
“We feel there was no other way than (use of Article) 356 (of the Constitution). The Assembly was not dissolved. Because there was a constitutional breakdown, temporarily President’s rule was imposed and anytime the Assembly can be revived,” the Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister said. He added: “That is up to the Governor’s report and also the situation there. As far as we are concerned, we always respect the rule of law. We respect the Constitution.”
Naidu’s comments comes a day after the Nainital high court quashed the proclamation of President’s rule in the hill state and revived the Congress government, headed by Harish Rawat, who has been asked to prove his majority in the Assembly on April 29.
Naidu said on one hand the then government had said that the Appropriation Bill was passed through a voice vote; while on the other, the Speaker disqualified some MLAs, saying that they opposed the government. “How can these two things go together? There is confusion and contradiction that has to be cleared,” he said.
The decision to recommend President’s rule was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs last month, following questions over the status of the Appropriation Bill, which was declared as passed by the Speaker in the Assembly under controversial circumstances. He questioned the April 29 trial of strength at a time when nine Congress MLAs have been disqualified.
“How can you have trial of strength by disqualifying MLAs? Trial of strength has to be fair and impartial. You disqualify nine MLAs, who are opposing you, and then you say I have got the majority.... It will be a travesty of truth and also against basic principles of democracy,” he said.
“There is a debate going on and let the debate go on. Tomorrow, if there is a situation and if a government loses majority and if any Speaker decides that the minority (government) is majority...is there no remedy? If somebody disqualifies MLAs just before the voting...is there no remedy? This has to be thought of and discussed,” he said.
He expressed hope that the “Supreme Court will take up all these angles” and said “let us wait for the final verdict of the court. “As far as we are concerned, we feel that there was no way other than using Article 356 in Uttarakhand because there was a constitutional breakdown,” he added.
Naidu alleged that the Chief Minister, who “has lost majority”, is indulging in “unethical and immoral acts, which was caught on television. This is not taken note of and they are trying to give us Pravachan”.
Naidu claimed that the Congress MLAs were losing confidence in their leadership at the state and national levels and “that’s why many people are going. In what way we can be held responsible?” “We always respect the rule of law and the Constitution. At the end of the day, whatever the highest court of the land says it will be followed. We have all the respect for the judiciary and for the Constitution. But, the position has to be cleared,” Naidu said.