No government will survive if corruption is used to impose President’s Rule: Uttarakhand HC
Nainital: The Uttarakhand High Court on Tuesday pulled up the Centred for taking away the powers of an elected government and introducing ‘chaos’ and that floor test ‘cannot be deprived of its sanctity’.
The court brushed aside its argument that the hill state was brought under President’s Rule because of corruption saying ‘no government in India will survive 5 years if that is the case’.
The court repeatedly maintained that irrespective of allegations of horse-trading and corruption, the only Constitutional way to test majority was to hold a floor test, which "you still have to go for".
The Centre also faced searching questions from the court which observed that if the reasons for imposition of Article 356 in the instant case, where ruling parties are different at the Centre and in the state, are accepted then it may lead to the central government "watching with a magnifying glass where there is an opportunity for President's rule".
"It (President's rule) has to be applied in exceptional cases only," the bench of Chief Justice KM Joseph and Justice VK Bist said adding that the President could have waited for events to unfold on March 28 when a floor test was to take place.
The bench was hearing arguments on the petition challenging imposition of President's rule filed by the ousted Chief Minister Harish Rawat and related pleas.
By imposing President's rule, "you (Centre) are taking away power of an elected government. You are introducing chaos", it said adding the Governor had not recommended imposing of Article 356.
The bench went on to say that the Governor's action of March 23 calling for a floor test "cannot be deprived of its sanctity".
"After (the decision on) March 23 what has happened for imposition of Article 356?" the court asked.
It said that irrespective of allegations of horse-trading or a sting operation pointing towards corruption in the government, "the only Constitutional way to test majority was to hold the floor test. You still have to go for floor test".
"The sting operation and conclusions derived from it are totally irrelevant. The Union Cabinet could not have known that the Speaker would on March 26 disqualify the nine MLAs.
"Even if it (Cabinet) did know, it was irrelevant for the Centre to take it (disqualification) into consideration. If it (Centre) does take it into consideration, then it would stand accused of being partisan and playing politics in the state," the bench said.
With PTI Inputs