Dehradun/Nagpur: “Even the President can go wrong,” said the judges today who are deciding whether President’s Rule was used in the hill state of Uttarakhand to get rid of the Congress government.
In successive hearings, the judges of the Uttarakhand High Court have suggested that the Centre’s motives appear suspect in its decision to recommend that the state be governed by Delhi through the office of the Governor.
The Centre has been arguing that President’s Rule cannot be reviewed by the courts. Unmoved by that contention, the judges today said, “There is no such decision like that of a king which cannot be subject to judicial review.”
Late last month, the dissidence within the Congress against Harish Rawat as Chief Minister surged with nine legislators from the party voting against his budget. The Centre said that proved that Rawat had lost his majority in the house. Without the rebel Congressmen, he was reduced to less than the 36 votes he needs to remain in power, the opposition BJP alleged. Based on the recommendation of Governor KK Paul, the Centre called for President’s rule, and introduced it just a day before Rawat was meant to take a trust vote as sanctioned by the High Court.
“You are cutting at the root of democracy,” the High Court said earlier this week about the Centre, expressing its strong disagreement with the Centre’s argument that it acted to prevent a constitutional breakdown in Uttarakhand.
“Each decision has an impact 10-20 years down the line,” the judges said, referring to the precedent that could be set if President’s Rule is unfairly invoked in states where the opposition is in power.