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In a major setback to the Centre, the Uttarakhand High Court on Tuesday ordered a floor test in the Assembly on March 31, despite the state being under President’s Rule.
Justice U C Dhayni passed the order on a petition filed by ousted chief minister Harish Rawat, challenging the imposition of President’s Rule in the state. This is perhaps the first instance where a high court has ordered a floor test when a state is under President’s Rule.
A stunned Centre is mulling over challenging the single-bench order before a division bench contending that no court can order a floor test when the state is under President’s Rule.
The matter is expected to come up for hearing before a division bench of Chief Justice K M Joseph and Justice V K Bisht where Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi is likely to appear on behalf of the Centre.
The high court stated that all the nine Congress’s rebel MLAs, who were disqualified by Speaker Govind Kunjwal on Sunday, would be allowed to vote, adding that the results should be presented to the court on Friday.  It also ordered the registrar general to be present as an observer in the Assembly.
Top lawyers from the Congress, including Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal, went into a huddle after the court order and were planning to seek clarification on certain aspects dealing with the disqualified MLAs. “We are unable to understand certain aspects of the order. The court has also allowed the nine disqualified MLAs to vote,” AICC general-secretary Ambika Soni said.

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