Uttarakhand High Court dismisses Cong rebels’ petition
In a jolt to the rebel faction of the state Congress, the Uttarakhand high court on Friday dismissed the writ petition filed by them which asked for ‘a short adjournment’ to enable them to adequately respond to the showcause notice issued by the assembly speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal.
On March 19, Kunjwal had issued showcause notices to all nine Congress rebel members for action under the anti-defection law.The MLAs were asked to reply to the notice by 5pm on March 26. With the high court closing its doors on them, the rebels now have to adhere to the timeline set for replying to the notice.
Reacting to the development, Umesh Sharma ‘Kau’, one of the rebels, told TOI, “We accept the high court’s decision and will respond appropriately to the notice either through a lawyer or personally.”
Former union minister and Supreme Court lawyer Kapil Sibal, who represented the Speaker, flew down to Nainital from Delhi on Friday to argue the case. Later, speaking with mediapersons, he attacked the central government for “destabilizing state governments headed by the Congress.” “Everybody saw what the BJP did in Arunachal Pradesh and now they are following the same strategy in Uttarakhand too,” Sibal said.
Kartikey Hari Gupta, one of the three advocates representing the Speaker, elaborated on the decision taken by the court. “The stand taken by the honourable court was that the petition was ‘premature’ and that this was just a showcause notice. The court also mentioned that it was within the jurisdiction of the assembly speaker to decide upon the matter,” he said.
The case was heard by the single bench of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia. Incidentally, the high court, which was closed on Friday, was specially opened to hear the petition, making it one of the rare instances when the court was opened on a holiday.