The Uttarakhand High Court has imposed a stay on the floor test in the state assembly, scheduled to be held on 31 March. The hearing on the floor test will now be held on 6 April. A divisional bench of the High Court has also asked the NDA government at the Centre and the Congress government in power at Uttarakhand to file their respective affidavits by 4 April.
The decision comes just a day after the High Court had allowed the floor test in the Uttarakhand assembly to be held even while President’s Rule was in place in the state. The nine disqualified rebel MLAs of the Congress parties were also allowed to participate in the floor test by the court.
However, the Centre had intervened in the matter, saying a state under central rule cannot technically face a test of strength. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had claimed that doing so would mean “there are two governments in place, one sitting in the assembly and one at the Centre”.
Speaking to the media following the court’s decision, Rohatgi said the Centre was happy with the latest development. “We are satisfied with the verdict of the high court,” Rohatgi said.
The Uttarakhand crisis
The Congress, which has ruled the state since four years, has claimed the support of its 27 MLAs plus another six from the PDF and one dissident BJP MLA. Nine Congress MLAs rebelled against their party and have joined hands with the BJP, which has 27 legislators.
Following the rebel MLAs breaking ranks, the Centre had imposed President’s Rule in the state on Sunday on grounds of “breakdown of Constitutional machinery”. Chief Minister Harish Rawat had moved court calling the Centre’s decision “arbitrary” and had demanded its quashing. Following an appeal made by his government, the High Court had ordered a test of strength to be scheduled for 31 March.