Blow to Cen­tre: HC sets aside U’khand Prez Rule

RAWAT BACK AS CM Floor test in Assem­bly on April 29; Cen­tre to ap­peal or­der

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NAIN IT AL/ NEW DELHI: The Ut­tarak­hand high court quashed Pres­i­dent’s rule in the state on Thurs­day, restor­ing the Har­ish Rawat-led Congress govern­ment and ask­ing it to prove its ma­jor­ity in the Assem­bly on April 29.

The ver­dict comes as an em­bar­rass­ment for PM Naren­dra Modi’s govern­ment at the Cen­tre, ac­cused of try­ing to grab power in op­po­si­tion-ruled states. In Delhi, at­tor­ney gen­eral Mukul Ro­hatgi said the govern­ment will chal­lenge the HC’s ver­dict in the SC on Fri­day. In a counter move, CM Rawat filed a caveat in the apex court to en­sure no or­der is passed with­out giv­ing him a hear­ing.

Two Union min­is­ters, Ra­j­nath Singh and Arun Jait­ley, met party chief Amit Shah to dis­cuss the im­pli­ca­tions of the high court ver­dict. The Cen­tre im­posed Pres­i­dent’s rule in the state on March 27 cit­ing “gov­er­nance break­down” af­ter nine Congress law­mak­ers re­belled against Rawat. The de­posed chief min­is­ter had chal­lenged in court the Cen­tre’s de­ci­sion, which came just a day be­fore he was to prove his strength in the assem­bly.

A divi­sion bench of the high court said at the end of four days of scathing ob­ser­va­tions against the Cen­tre that it did not find enough ma­te­rial to jus­tify im­po­si­tion of Pres­i­dent’s rule. “When the govern­ment takes ac­tion un­der Ar­ti­cle 356 of the Con­sti­tu­tion, it is ex­pected to be non-par­ti­san, it can­not have any kind of bias, but we do not see it here,” the bench of chief jus­tice KM Joseph and jus­tice VK Bist said.

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