SC stays U’Khand HC’s order on Prez Rule
Centre on Friday managed to get partial relief from the Supreme Court in the Uttarakhand President’s Rule case. Though the apex court stayed the operation of the Uttarakhand High Court order quashing the imposition of President’s rule till the next hearing, it also took an undertaking from the Centre that in the intervening period President’s proclamation would not be withdrawn and another government not installed in Dehradun.
This means that the Centre would have to bring President’s proclamation under Article 356 before the Parliament session that begins on Monday. The stage is set for Government, Opposition fireworks and legislative business may go for a toss. The apex court clarified that it was keeping in abeyance the judgement of the High Court till the next date of hearing on April 27 as a measure of balance for both the parties as the copy of the verdict was not made available to the parties.
While listing the matter for hearing on April 27, the bench said that the High Court shall provide the judgement passed on Thursday to the parties by April 26 and on the same date the copy of the verdict shall also be placed before the apex court.
The Supreme Court’s stay has the effect of undoing the revival of the Congress government led by Harish Rawat by the High Court judgement on Thursday.
During the hearing, the bench also observed that as a matter of propriety the High Court should have signed the verdict so that it would be appropriate for it to go into the appeal. The apex court issued notice to Harish Rawat and Chief Secretary of the state on the petition by Centre challenging the quashing of Presidential proclamation under Article 356 of the Constitution in the state.
Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, along with senior advocate Harish Salve, pressed for the stay of the HC judgement. He said how one party can be put at advantage and assume the office of Chief Minister when the other party is pushed to disadvantage in the absence of the judgement.
Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal, appearing for Rawat and the Assembly Speaker, argued hard against the passing of any interim order saying “you are allowing the appeal by giving the stay”.
Sibal was of the view that allowing stay of operation of the High Court verdict would be like enforcing the proclamation of the President rule. During the jam-packed hearing, the bench sought to pacify both the parties saying that it has to take a balanced view as this is a Constitutional court.
“We will take on record the copy of the judgement and go through it. This matter may go to Constitution bench,” the bench said. The high-voltage hearing at 3.30 pm started with the Attorney General attacking Rawat assuming the office as Chief Minister and chairing a cabinet meeting when the copy of the judgement passed on Thursday was not made available to parties.