Sus­pense on Ut­tarak­hand Cong rebels’ fate still alive

De­ci­sion on the nine leg­is­la­tors set for to­mor­row

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

The Ut­tarak­hand high court on Satur­day de­ferred its de­ci­sion on a pe­ti­tion filed by nine Congress rebels chal­leng­ing their dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion by the Assem­bly speaker.

The de­fer­ment kept alive the sus­pense over the fate of the nine leg­is­la­tors who plunged the state into po­lit­i­cal cri­sis and are cru­cial to the BJP’s hopes of form­ing the govern­ment in the hill state.

Fix­ing Mon­day for the next hear­ing in the case, the court of jus­tice UC Dhyani said it will de­liver its ver­dict be­fore April 29 when for­mer chief min­is­ter Har­ish Rawat has been asked to prove his govern­ment’s ma­jor­ity by a two-judge bench.

The high court’s ob­ser­va­tion came a day af­ter the Supreme Court stayed the two-judge bench’s re­vo­ca­tion of Pres­i­dent’s rule in the hill state, giv­ing a breather to the BJP-led govern­ment at the Cen­tre.

The apex court’s ver­dict, likely on April 27, will de­cide whether Rawat will get the chance to prove his govern­ment’s ma­jor­ity in the house.

The Cen­tre had clamped

Pres­i­dent’s rule in the state on March 27 cit­ing “gov­er­nance break­down”, just a day be­fore Rawat was to prove his strength in the assem­bly.

The Congress ac­cuses the BJP try­ing to top­ple govern­ments in op­po­si­tion-ruled state and the is­sue is likely to see fire­works in Par­lia­ment when it re­con­venes on Mon­day.

Plead­ing on be­half of assem­bly speaker Govind Singh Kun­jwal, se­nior ad­vo­cate Kapil Sibal said the nine rebels have vi­o­lated the law against de­fec­tion and de­served to be pun­ished for it.

“How can you stay a dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion? They have com­mit­ted a con­sti­tu­tional sin and are yet seek­ing the stay on this sin,”

Sibal said re­fer­ring to an ob­ser­va­tion made by the two-judge bench on Thurs­day.

He said the rebels knew it was “un­eth­i­cal and un­con­sti­tu­tional” when they joined the BJP and signed a mem­o­ran­dum seek­ing divi­sion of votes dur­ing the bud­get ses­sion of the assem­bly in March.

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