Uttarakhand: SC suggests floor test under its aegis

Giving a hint that it would pass an order allowing the ousted Harish Rawat government in Uttarakhand to prove his majority in the Assembly, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to make its stand clear by Wednesday on the issue of a floor test in Uttarakhand.

The court asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to seek instruction from the government in view of the apex court ruling in the Rameshwar Prasad case.

 "In view of ... the judgment, why not have a floor test under our supervision," a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said and fixed a detailed hearing for today.

President's Rule was imposed in Uttarakhand after the Harish Rawat-led Congress government was reduced to a minority after seven MLAs withdrew their support on 18 March.

The apex court had on 22 April stayed till 27 April the judgment of the Uttarakhand High Court, which quashed the Presidential promulgation. The Centre has challenged the high court order in the top court (See: Supreme Court stays HC order lifting central rule in Uttarakhand). On 27 April, the SC had extended the stay and had also framed seven questions while giving the liberty to the AG to include other questions the government would like to be addressed (SC defers floor test in Uttarakhand assembly, questions central rule). Earlier, the court had also questioned the grounds on the basis of which the President's Rule was imposed and asked the senior-most law officer of the government to address seven queries raised by it.

"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.