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Historical ! Nainital High Court causes major setback to Centre

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Published on 21 April 2016 10:11 AM GMT

Historical ! Nainital High Court causes major setback to Centre
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Dehradun: Reviving memory of Bommai case, the Nainital High Court on Thursday set aside the President’s rule in Uttarkhand imposed by the Centre in March 27 last. The court has asked the Harish Rawat led state government to prove majority on April 29.

As in case of Bommai, the court ruled that floor is the only place to test the majority. The Centre had imposed President’s rule on the state on the ground that there was a political crisis and that the only solution to end it was imposition of Central rule.

Read “Even the President can go wrong”, Nainital High Court

The crisis was created following rebellion by nine members of legislative assembly who left the Harish Rawat led Congress party in the state. They were moving closer to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Read All you need to know about Article 356 and President’s rule

The Uttarakhand case study:

  • The President's rule was imposed in the state of hills Uttarakhand, on March 27 last after nine legislators belonging to the Congress deserted the party.
  • The report to impose the President's rule was sent to the Centre by the Governor.
  • Accepting the recommendation, the Centre imposed President's rule on the state.
  • The decision was challenged in the Nainital High Court.

Horse trading sting:

  • The rebel MLAs had released a sting video on Rawat, alleging that he had indulged in horse-trading to save his government.
  • The state BJP immediately claimed that the political crisis has deepened and President's rule should be imposed.

The Bommai case:

It happened in 1989. Janata Party, which had a majority with 83 seats in the state legislature, merged with Lok Dal to be called the Janata Dal and form the government.

The ministry was expanded with the addition of 13 members. Two days later, KR Molakery, a JD legislator, defected and presented a letter to the governor along with signatures of 19 other legislators withdrawing their support to the Bommai government.

The governor sent a report to the President recommended he exercise power under Article 356(1) stating therein there were dissensions and defections in the ruling party. Then, seven out of the 19 legislators who had rebelled, sent letters to the governor complaining their signatures were obtained on the earlier letters by misrepresentation and affirmed their support to the ministry.

The CM met the governor the same day and informed him about the decision to summon the assembly to prove the confidence of assembly in his government. But the governor did not heed his appeal and sent another report to the President to dismiss the government.

President issued the proclamation, which was approved by the Parliament as required by Article 356(3).

Decision comes in 1994:

Bommai took over as CM of Karanataka on August 13, 1988 from Ramakrishna Hegde, who had quit following a telephone-tapping scandal. Bommai moved the Supreme Court challenging his dismissal. In 1994, the apex court gave the landmark judgment in what came to be known as S R Bommai vs Union of India case, making a floor test the benchmark for testing majority of a head of government in the event of doubt.

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