Uttarakhand verdict: Centre contemplating appeal in Supreme Court

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With the Uttarakhand High Court setting aside setting aside Presidents rule in the state, there is bound to be hectic political activity once again. This verdict has paved the way for Harish Rawat to prove his majority on the floor of the house which will be held on April 29.

The centre now has the option of going before the Supreme Court in appeal. An appeal could be filed as early as tomorrow seeking a stay on the verdict of the High Court. However if the Supreme Court refuses to stay the verdict then then the strength would be tested on the floor of the house.

harish rawat

The High Court today in its verdict said that the role of the central government in the imposition of Article 356 has to be non-partisan and it cannot adopt an interest in this as a interested party.

Centre contemplating appeal:

The union government is contemplating filing an appeal in the Supreme Court. The centre is already in discussion about this issue and may try and move the court as early as tomorrow. The government is likely to seek a stay on the verdict of the High Court.

However if the stay is not granted then the test can go on as scheduled on April 29. It would be interesting to see what the Supreme Court would have to say on this issue. Normally the Supreme Court goes by the law laid down in the S R Bommai case in which has extensively dealt with Article 356.

The principles in the Bommai case:

The majority enjoyed by the Council of Ministers shall be tested on the floor of the House.

Centre should give a warning to the state and a time period of one week to reply.

The court cannot question the advice tendered by the CoMs to the President but it can question the material behind the satisfaction of the President. Hence, Judicial Review will involve three questions only:
a. Is there any material behind the proclamation
b. Is the material relevant.
c. Was there any mala fide use of power.

If there is improper use of A356 then the court will provide remedy.

Under Article 356(3) it is the limitation on the powers of the President. Hence, the president shall not take any irreversible action until the proclamation is approved by the Parliament i.e. he shall not dissolve the assembly.

A356 is justified only when there is a breakdown of constitutional machinery and not administrative machinery

A356 shall be used sparingly by the centre, otherwise it is likely to destroy the constitutional structure between the centre and the states. Even Dr. Ambedkar envisaged it to remain a 'dead letter' in the constitution.

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