Allahabad high court declares President's rule in UP 'unconstitutional'
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court
on Thursday set aside the fresh imposition of President's rule in
Uttar Pradesh holding the proclamation issued in this regard as
A full bench of the court comprising Justices B M Lal,
Brijesh Kumar and Markandey Katju delivered the
judgment on various petitions filed by Hari Shankar
Jain, R K Verma, Lalji Tandon and others.
The bench, which heard the petitions from December 4 to
9, said Thursday's order will not come into effect till December 26.
Federal Home Minister Indrajit Gupta, however, ruled
out any immediate action in the wake of the verdict,
thus indicating that the status quo
was expected to prevail in the state, at least, for the time being.
Gupta told the Lok Sabha that the
government would decide on the future course of action in UP
only after studying the judgment and promised to inform the
House about it. The minister said
the judges had given the government time up to December 26 and ''we cannot be in a hurry
to jump to a conclusion.''
In a related development Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A Sangma also deferred till
Friday the consideration and passing of the Uttar Pradesh state
legislature (delegation of powers) bill, 1996 following objections
from Bharatiya Janata Party MPs that the legislation had become infructuous in view
of the judgment.
The bill seeks to confer on the President the powers of the legislature
of the state of UP to make laws.
Earlier, a two member bench of the Allahabad high court
comprising of Justices Syed Haider Abbas Raza and AN Gupta,
which had heard these petitions originally, had given
a split verdict in the matter on November 19.
The two judges had referred the case to the chief justice requesting
him to constitute a full bench for hearing and disposing off the
A senior home ministry official said the Centre has two options before it
-- either to file a
special leave petition before the Supreme Court against the
high court judgment or examine the possibility of forming a
government in the state.
Soon after the judgment, senior home
ministry officials sought the advice of their counterparts at the
The judgment rocked both
Houses of Parliament on the penultimate day of the winter session when
BJP MPs sought the immediate resignation of the United Front
government on moral grounds.
Describing the UF government's decision to impose President's
rule in the state as an erroneous step, agitated BJP deputies
asserted that their party's stand had been ''vindicated''.
As soon as the Lok Sabha assembled for the day former prime
minister Atal Behari Vajpayee stood up to say that the UF government had
been found guilty of murdering democracy. ''We cannot exonerate the
ruling front for the act,'' he said.
The BJP leader regretted that to prevent his party -- which won the largest number
of seats in September's assembly poll -- from forming a
government in UP, the UF constituents had chosen to abandon their
long-espoused stand against the ''misuse of Article 356''.
The BJP has demanded
that UP Governor Romesh Bhandari be recalled immediately
and the Union government resign in view of the unanimous decision
of the Allahabad high court.
BJP vice-president K L Sharma called upon the political parties, particularly the Communists
and the Janata Dal, to introspect on the use of Article 356
of the Constitution. These parties, he said, had always spoken
against invoking of Article 356 to achieve political ends, but in
the case of Uttar Pradesh they had endorsed the government's decision.
The BJP's central parliamentary board will meet in Delhi on Friday to
assess the situation and
discuss the possibility of staking a claim to form the government,
He did not rule out the BJP exploring the possibility of
reaching an alliance with another party.
Tara Shankar Sahay, UNI