Apex court takes govt to task on Delhi Assembly

Apex court takes govt to task on Delhi Assembly

The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed the Union government for dithering on the fate of the Delhi Assembly, even as the Centre said the President has given the nod to the Lieutenant-Governor to invite the BJP to form government. 

A five-judge Constitution bench, presided over by Chief Justice H L Dattu, pointed out that the court has given the Centre enough time to decide on the issue, but it has not shown a positive attitude.

“In a democratic set-up, people have the right to a government. They can’t be governed by the President’s Rule. We gave you the opportunity for several months, but nothing seems to have been done. It can’t go on like this,” the bench told Additional Solicitor General P S Narsimha, appearing for the Centre.

“Why don’t you go for trial of strength in the Assembly?” the bench asked counsel after he showed the court a letter from President allowing to the L-G to invite the BJP to form government.

Delhi has been under the President's Rule since February 17, following the resignation of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government headed by Arvind Kejriwal after 49 days in power. 

The AAP has urged the court to direct the Centre to dissolve the Delhi Assembly and order fresh elections.

Taking up the AAP petition, the bench also wondered why the Centre always came out with one statement or another just a day before the matter was fixed for hearing. “Why was it not decided earlier? How long can you go on like this?” it asked.

The bench, however, decided to hear the AAP’s petition on merit, even though it was pointed out that the Delhi Assembly could be kept under suspended animation for one year and the court should not issue direction for formation of government.

The court said nothing has been done so far even though it had adjourned the matter a number of times. Appearing for the AAP, advocate Prashant Bhushan said a party needed minimum 36 MLAs to form government in the 70-member House.