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Uttarakhand HC seeks Centre's response to petition challenging ordinance


The Uttarakhand High Court today directed the Centre to respond to a writ petition filed by deposed chief minister Harish Rawat challenging promulgation of an ordinance by the Union government on the appropriation bill, a consolidated legislation on the state’s annual budget which was declared passed by the state assembly.

A division bench comprising justices K M Joseph and V K Bisht asked the Centre to file its response by April 5 after the Union government’s counsel Rakesh Thapaliyal sought more time from the court to furnish its reply.

Hearing on the petition filed on behalf of Rawat by senior Supreme Court lawyer and former Union minister Kapil Sibal will be resumed on April 6 by the court.

Sibal has also been granted the request to add another prayer to the petition challenging prorogation of Parliament for the purpose of promulgating the ordinance.

He has been asked to add the prayer to his petition by April 4.

Parliament was prorogued recently as an ordinance cannot be promulgated when it is in session.

The Union Cabinet had sent a recommendation to the President seeking promulgation of an ordinance on what it termed as a “defeated” appropriation bill which could not be passed by Uttarakhand Assembly.

Demand for a division of votes on the appropriation bill by Opposition as well as ruling party MLAs in the state Assembly has been at the root of the ongoing political turmoil in Uttarakhand.

Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal’s refusal to allow a division of votes on it had triggered a pandemonium in the House on March 18 after which the Speaker had announced it passed by voice vote.

“We had challenged the ordinance. We had said it was unconstitutional. Notice has been issued to the Centre asking it to respond by April 5. The next date for hearing is April 6,” Sibal told reporters outside the high court in Nainital.

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