It seems that there is no end to Uttarakhand’s controversy. The Supreme Court ordered a floor test in the Uttarakhand Assembly on May 10 for deposed Congress Chief Minister Harish Rawat to prove his numbers and “end the controversy over the proclamation of President’s rule in the State.” It held that the nine Congress MLAs disqualified by the Speaker would not be able to vote.
The floor test will be the single item on the agenda for the House on that day. However, the apex court clarified that there would be no “status quo ante” for Rawat. This means that Rawat would not be automatically restored as Chief Minister when President’s rule is lifted for the duration of the test.
Anyway, Rawat would have to prove he had the numbers to return as Chief Minister but under the present Narendra Modi government, democratic values and welfare of the common people have taken a backseat. We can only see intolerance to criticism and all out efforts to ensure single party rule with none to check. Under such grave situation, the Judiciary is the ultimate resort to save our country and it’s constitutional provisions, but that is also under stress.
The present NDA government which has resorted to open murder of democracy by pulling down the duly elected state governments in Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and flouting the Constitutional provision, brazenly commenced before Hon’ble Supreme Court that it is seriously considering holding Floor Test in Uttarakhand for serving the cause of democracy.
This is the height of hypocrisy indeed! If the present NDA government had even least respect for democracy, Narendra Modi owes an answer to the people of India as to why his government prevented the Floor Test on 28th March 2016 by imposing President’s rule on 27th March. Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand episode rotates around the disqualification of the MLAs. It is the lack of sound guidelines in dealing with the defections and imposition of the President’s rule in the states resulted in the current development. The major political parties in the country are responsible for the current situation. It is the failure of the political functionaries that has forced the judiciary to step in and decide the course of action. The stability of any government will be at stake in the state and it is better that the Assembly is dissolved and fresh elections ordered at the earliest.
Moreover, BJP is going too far and out of its way in defending the action of rebel Congress MLAs and calling it as not defection. It will be paying a huge price for this if some other party does the same with its MLAs in the future and uses the same argument in its defense. Anyhow, this tussle has reached a noteworthy stage now. All eyes are on the HC verdict on 9th. Now, the question is that what will happen if the aggrieved party on 9th approaches SC the same day and seeks its intervention in its favour. As usual, public can only remain a mute spectator to all this happenings and bear the consequences thereof?
If you notice, the defections from one party to another are been in fashion for long time. The ruling party MLAs or MPs are changing parties after winning the elections from a particular party. We all know that how much they are spending on elections and then earning by joining another party being a part of horse trading. The Election Commission also could not control the election expenditure though in some instances huge amount is being caught. We all know why they are changing parties. Politicians crave for only power, money and status; there is no ethics or accountability. As a result, the common party members those are hoping for good positions are seating back in the dark. This should be checked and strict law should be passed on defections.
Anti-defection law under which speaker has disqualified the MLAs only refers to the action of MLAs inside house voting against whip. Their travelling with somebody or giving even statements outside the house does not attract disqualification.
Though, the Attorney-General strongly advocated an observer – a retired Chief Election Commissioner – to be appointed to monitor the proceedings, the court agreed with Rawat’s counsel, senior advocates Kapil Sibal, A.M. Singhvi and Rajeev Dhawan, that an “outsider” should not be permitted in the House.
The floor test to decide the majority is the time tested convention in democracy and should be welcome. The SC direction in this regard in the tricky Uttarakhand may go a long way in guiding the centre on the dismissal of the state governments and the enforcement of the President’s Rule.
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