Decide on Delhi assembly's fate, SC tells Centre

New Delhi


The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the central government to take a decision on the fate of the Delhi assembly which was placed under suspended animation after the AAP government resigned Feb 14.

Seeking a decision within a reasonable time, a constitution bench of Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice J.Chelameswar, Justice A.K.Sikri, Justice R.K.Agrawal and Justice Arun Mishra adjourned hearing on Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) petition seeking dissolution of the assembly as was recommended by the Arvind Kejriwal-led government when it exited on the Jan Lokpal Bill issue.

Adjourning the matter, the court said that "time and again we have adjourned the matter to see if any party was willing to form the government. What endeavours are being made. We want to know".

Asking the government to take a decision either way (to dissolve the house or not), the court asked what would it say if a citizen came to the court and say he wanted to be served by an elected representative - who is not doing anything and yet getting paid, and that all because of the government.

"If a, b, c, d comes before us and says that you are paying tax payers money to the elected representative and he is not doing anything. I want elected representative to serve me. You are not allowing him to serve," Justice Dattu told Additional Solicitor General P.S.Narsimhan who resisted the plea that the government be asked to dissolve the assembly paving way for fresh elections.

Initially the court wanted to give government four weeks time to take the call, but decided to substitute it with "within reasonable time" after Narsimhan plead not to make it within four weeks. However, in order to indicate the time limit, the court said that the next hearing of the mater would be on Sep 9.

The court questioned what the central government was doing after Narsimhan told the court that everything was under the consideration and the government was making endeavours.

"What do you mean by consideration. What do you mean by endeavour? What endeavour you are making," Justice Dattu asked saying that "four-five months down the line no one is ready to form the government. No one has come forward to form the government".

"Now we are seeing the AAP's petition as a PIL. Citizen of Delhi says that they wants to be governed by their representatives and not by the Lt. Governor," Justice Dattu observed as Narsimhan told the court that the entire issue has to be "seen from the perspective of the Lt. Governor and not from the perspective of a political party which has a political expediency".

Narsimhan said that four months (since assembly was put under suspended animation) should be seen in the context of 60 months - the five year term of the state assembly.

Recounting the party-wise break up in Delhi assembly, the court said one said it didn't want to form a government, other says it can't form a government, the third says it doesn't have the numbers, then "in a situation like this why people should suffer".

"The problem is that if at any stage, the court comes to conclusion or believes that the formation of the government is not possible, can court ask the president (read central government) to dissolve the assembly and hold election," the court asked senior counsel Fali Nariman.

Appreciating the court's reluctance to issue direction to the president, Nariman said that the court could make a request for the consideration of the option to dissolve the assembly and hold fresh elections.

"Representative government is a part of the basic structure of the constitution and it is for the court to enforce it," he said.

Referring to the earlier contention of the Lt. Governor that it would not be prudent to hold election soon after Kejriwal government went out of office, senior counsel Shanti Bhushan told the court that there was a drastic change in the situation after the Lok Sabha elections as there was a huge swing in the vote share in favour of the BJP and also that of the AAP. - IANS