Nainital | In a boost to sacked Chief Minister Harish Rawat, the Uttarakhand High Court has dismissed the petition of nine Congress MLAs against their disqualification, a decision that will bar them from participating in the confidence vote proceedings in the Assembly tomorrow.
Justice U C Dhyani Monday pronounced his order on the petition challenging Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal’s decision disqualifying them after they joined hands with the BJP during proceedings on the Appropriation Bill on March 18. Today’s order of the high court ensures that their disqualification stays and will keep the rebel MLAs out of the proceedings during the confidence vote for Rawat in the Assembly tomorrow ordered by the Supreme Court last week.
Ordering a floor test on May 10 in the Assembly, the Supreme Court had said if they (disqualified MLAs) have the same status at the time of vote of confidence, they cannot participate in the House. A specially convened two-hour-long session during which the President’s Rule will be kept in abeyance will be held between 11 AM and 1 PM for a single agenda of floor test, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh had said.
However, the apex court had said, our observation in praesenti will not cause any kind of prejudice to the merits of the case of disqualified Members of Legislative Assembly, which is sub-judice before the High Court.
The proceedings were directed to be video-graphed by the apex court which said the confidence vote will take place by division under the watch of the Principal Secretary, Legislative Assembly. The top court said before the floor test will be initiated, the President rule will be kept in abeyance from 10:30 AM to 0100 PM and during that period the Governor shall remain in-charge of the State. It said the result of the voting shall be placed before it at 10:30 AM on May 11, 2016, in a sealed cover by the Principal Secretary, Legislative Assembly who will come with the documents in a sealed cover and the video recording of the proceedings.
At present, in the 70-member assembly, BJP has 28 MLAs, Congress has 27, BSP has 02, while there are three independent MLAs and one Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (P) lawmaker. Nine Congress MLAs are disqualified and one is a BJP rebel.