Centre asked to apprise SC by May 6 on U’khand floor test

Wednesday, May 4, 2016,14:30 IST By metro vaartha A A A

New Delhi | The Supreme Court today accepted the plea of the Centre that two more days be given to it to respond to its suggestion about the feasibility of holding a floor test in Uttarakhand Assembly under its supervision.
A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and and Shiva Kirti Singh, posted the matter for hearing on Friday after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said he has conveyed in right earnest the court’s suggestion which is under serious consideration by the government.
The bench recorded the submission of Attorney General that Union of India is seriously considering the suggestion given by this court to have a floor test in Assembly to put an end to the controversy that has emerged in this case. The bench also noted the submission of sacked Chief Minister Harish Rawat’s counsel Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi that they have no objection if Government accepts the suggestion.
The bench noted that if Government accepts the suggestion, it would subserve the cause of democracy. While posting the matter for hearing on May 6, the bench said if the AG does not obtain instructions on the suggestion, the matter will be taken for hearing and there is also a possibility that the matter will travel to Constitution bench for full fledged debate.
The bench was of the view that in most of the cases of imposition of President’s rule, the matter has gone to the Constitution bench by framing some vital questions.
However, Sibal and Singhvi raised objection to recording of such order and said that here it is a case of floor test which is like a vote of confidence for Rawat and it cannot be in any way called vote of no confidence.
However, the submission of Congress was objected to by Rohatgi who said Rawat cannot seek confidence vote by projecting himself as Chief Minister as the President’s Rule is in operation by virtue of the apex court’s order.
AG said the situation in Uttarakhand is like where both the parties will face the floor test to prove their majority. Singhvi said the floor test cannot be for the party which was not in power and the person who has to be called to prove the majority is one who was the chief minister.
Amidst the deliberation, the bench said, we will not restore the status quo ante by asking Rawat to prove majority.
The AG said the court should decide on the modalities for holding the floor test on Friday when the hearing resumes. The bench said the interim order staying the Uttarakhand High Court’s verdict quashing Presidential proclamation will continue and remain in force till further orders.
At the outset, the AG said the apex court’s yesterday’s query was conveyed in right earnest but he has not received any firm instructions. The information which I have received this morning is that we will get back on Friday morning and that’s where it stands, he said.
Sibal and Singhvi also expressed no objection to the AG’s suggestion. The bench had yesterday asked the AG to take instruction and apprise it about the feasibility of holding a floor test in Uttarakhand Assembly under its supervision. The court was hearing Centre’s appeal against the Uttarakhand High Court verdict revoking President’s rule in the state.
The apex court had on April 22 stayed till April 27 the judgement of the Uttarakhand High Court quashing imposition of President’s rule, giving a new turn to the political drama in the state by restoring central rule there.
On April 27, it had extended the stay till further orders and had also framed seven questions while giving the liberty to the AG to include other questions the government would like to be addressed.
Whether the Governor could have sent the message in the present manner under Article 175 (2) for conducting floor test, the bench had said in its first question. It had further asked whether the disqualification of MLAs by the Speaker is a relevant issue for the purposes of invoking President’s rule under Article 356 of the Constitution.
Referring to constitutional scheme that the Assembly proceedings are beyond the scope of judicial scrutiny, the apex court had also asked whether the proceedings of the House can be considered for invoking President’s rule.
Dealing with the claim and counter claim with regard to the fate of the Appropriation Bill in the Uttarakhand Assembly, it had said that the next question is as to when the President’s role comes into the picture.
Can the delay in the floor test be a ground for proclamation of the President’s rule, it had also asked.

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