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Chief's court on tenterhooks till 11th hour, as Cong counsel stood by to derail potential Gov Uttarakhand appeal

As news of the Uttarakhand high court quashing President’s rule in the state reached the Supreme Court, suspense was building up whether the Centre would seek an immediate stay by mentioning the matter before Court No.1, where the Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur and Justice R Banumathi were hearing the pollution matter.

As the counsel in the pollution matter continued to argue beyond 4 pm, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal were seen entering the court and taking their seats.

The Attorney General, Mukul Rohatgi, who had just left court No.9, which was hearing the call drop matter, was nowhere to be seen near Court No.1, when the judges rose for the day, at 4.15 pm - which would have been the usual opportunity when a desperate Government, wanting a stay, would try to draw the bench’s attention.

But ASG, Tushar Mehta was there in Court No.1, rebutting the arguments of the petitioner’s counsel in the pollution matter, when the court rose.

Sibal, and Singhvi remained there till the judges left the court room, apparently to ensure that the Government would not spring a surprise unchallenged.

Their presence in the court room suggested that they might file a caveat, asking to be heard, as the Centre was expected to seek a stay on the high court’s order.

But Sibal’s silence till the time when the Judges rose for the day showed that the Congress strategy was to wait and watch.

According to a story in Mint, the Attorney General, Mukul Rohatgi has said that the would mention the matter before the CJI bench on the morning of 22 April.

According to the cause list, however, the CJI TS Thakur, and the two senior-most Judges, Justice Anil Dave and Justice JS Khehar will not sit tomorrow.

Instead, a Justice Dipak Misra-led bench will sit at Court No 1.

It is not clear whether Justice Misra would be able to decide which bench will hear the Centre’s application for stay of the Uttarakhand high court’s decision to quash the President’s rule.

Today’s Uttarakhand judgment has not yet been uploaded. Rediff had the best [ http://www.rediff.com/news/report/uttarakhand-hc-quashes-presidents-rule/20160421.htm verbatim report] that one can get.

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