In a major blow to the central government, the Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday set aside President's Rule imposed in the hill state last month.
After two consecutive days of hearing on a matter filed by ousted Congress chief minister Harish Rawat, the court said the proclamation of central rule in the state stood null and void.
The court said central rule should be clamped in a state as a last resort, suggesting this did not happen in Uttarakhand. It fixed April 29 for a floor test in the state assembly.
The ruling triggered noisy celebrations outside Rawat's residence by Congress leaders and activists who shouted slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Congress leader and former Uttarakhand finance minister Indira Hridayesh said her party "saluted the judiciary for upholding truth and law". "It is a victory for democracy," the Congress said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also hailed the court decision. "This is a huge embarrassment to the (Narendra) Modi government. He should stop interfering with elected governments and respect democracy," the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader tweeted.
President's Rule was imposed in Uttarakhand on March 27 after nine Congress legislators defected, depriving majority support in the assembly to the Rawat government.