Take quick decision on Delhi Assembly: SC

Take quick decision on Delhi Assembly: SC

Take quick decision on Delhi Assembly: SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday wondered how long Delhi would be deprived of a representative government and MLAs would continue to sit at home without work. It also asked the Centre to take a concrete decision on the dissolution of the Delhi Assembly.

A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Justice H L Dattu, also asked the Centre why it was keeping the Assembly in suspended animation, even though no party was coming forward to form government.

“Every citizen wants to be ruled by a representative government. In the present scenario, one party says it does not want to form government, the other says it cannot. The third party has no strength. In a situation like this, why should people suffer?” the bench asked Additional Solicitor General P S Narsimha, who was appearing for the Centre.

The bench, also consisting of Justices J Chelameswar, A K Sikri, R K Agrawal and Arun Mishra, asked the law officer to clarify what endeavour the government was making on the issue.

The court hoped that the appropriate authority would take a decision on dissolution of the Assembly, and adjourned the matter relating to the petition filed by the Aam Aadmi Party for consideration in five weeks.

As Narsimha tried to reason that for a period of one year the Assembly could remain in the suspended animation, as envisaged in the Constitution, the court countered, “Why should taxpayers' money be paid to legislators who are not doing anything?”

The court then wanted to know what steps the Centre has taken to explore the possibility of government formation during the last five months. 

To this, the law officer said the stand taken by the political parties was not absolute. “If somebody says that it (the party) is ready to form government, our thinking would be changed,” retorted the court.

During the hearing, the court refused a plea made by senior advocate Shanti Bhushan to issue direction for holding elections in Delhi along with four other states later this year.

Delhi has been put under President's Rule since February 17, with no party coming forward to stake claim for government formation following the resignation of the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government after 49 days.

The AAP, with 28 MLAs had formed the government with the support of eight Congress MLAs. The AAP's strength has come down to 27 after expulsion of party MLA Vinod Kumar Binny.

BJP's number has also reduced to 28 from 32, including one from Akali Dal, after three of its legislators—Harsh Vardhan, Ramesh Bidhuri and Pervesh Verma—were elected to the Lok Sabha in May. 

The apex court had on July 4 referred to its Constitution bench the contentious issue of deciding the AAP demand for dissolution of the Delhi Assembly, but had clarified that the Lieutenant Governor was free to take a call on government formation.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Assembly secretariat is planning a training programme later this month for all MLAs to help them make the best use of their constituency fund. The session would also touch upon matters of conduct and legislative issues.