Uttrakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat addressing a press conference in Dehradun on Sunday, March 27, 2016 PTI

Uttrakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat addressing a press conference in Dehradun on Sunday, March 27, 2016 PTI
In a major setback to the central government, the on Thursday set aside the imposition of President’s rule in the hill state.

After two consecutive days of hearing on a matter filed by ousted chief minister Harish Rawat, the court said the proclamation of central rule in the state stood null and void. It has also called for a floor test in the Assembly on April 29.

Meanwhile, the Centre is likely to challenge the High Court verdict in the Supreme Court.

Congress leader and former finance minister Indira Hridayesh said her party “saluted the judiciary for upholding truth and law”.

Earlier today, the Uttarakhand High Court said it would be a travesty of justice if the Centre recalls its order imposing President’s rule and allows someone else to form a government now, strong words that came after its counsel was unable to give an undertaking till a verdict is given in the present case.

Continuing its hearing for the fourth day, the court also told the Centre that it could allow the ousted Chief Minister Harish Rawat’s petition challenging the imposition of President’s rule and ensure that a floor test is held.

“Should we consider their application for stay moved on April 7? It was expected that till the judgement is pronounced, Central government will not recall (Article) 356. If you recall 356 and call someone else to form a government, what else would it be other than travesty of justice,” a bench of Chief Justice K M Joseph and Justice V K Bist said.

The strong words of the court came after the Centre’s counsel said it was not in a position to give an assurance that the government would consider putting on hold the recall of its order imposing President’s rule for a week. It gave the government’s counsel some time to take instructions.

The bench observed, “Otherwise you can do this in every state. Impose President’s rule for 10-15 days and then ask someone else to take oath. More than angry, we are pained that you are behaving like this. That the highest authority – Government of India – behaves like this. How can you think of playing with the court.”

“What if we allow the petition? Then things would go back to what it was prior to the President’s rule and the state government will only have to prove majority by way of floor test. Can you take exception to that also?” the bench asked the Centre.