SC satisfied with move to form govt in Delhi

Two days after rapping the Centre for dithering on the fate of Delhi Assembly, the Supreme Court on Thursday expressed satisfaction over the efforts made by Lieutenant (L-G) Governor Najeeb Jung for installing a government in the national capital territory.

A five-judge Constitution bench presided by Chief Justice H L Dattu noted the “positive moves” by the L-G for government formation and said even there could be a minority government with outside support.

Resuming a hearing on a petition filed by the Aam Aadmi Party for dissolution of the Delhi Assembly, Justice Dattu said, “From the reports that I have read in newspapers, it appears that the LG has made positive moves.”

The court asked advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the AAP to wait for some time and put off the matter for further consideration on November 11. On Tuesday, the court had questioned the Union government for failing to decide on the fate of the Assembly, kept under suspended animation since February 17, even though the Centre had maintained that the President has given nod to the L-G to invite the BJP, which is the single largest party, to form the government.

The bench had also frowned over the news report about the President’s nod to the L-G appearing just a day before the hearing, saying it had on earlier occasions adjourned the hearing a number of times for taking a positive decision on the Delhi Assembly.

In a relief to the Centre, the bench said the LG should be given more time to explore the possibility of government formation. The LG on Wednesday decided to hold consultation with the BJP, the Congress and the AAP in an effort to install an elected government in Delhi. During the brief hearing, Bhushan maintained that there was no possibility of government formation since no political party had the requisite numbers.
“We should always live in hope,” the bench told Bhushan and adjourned the matter.

Appearing for the Congress, senior advocate K Parasaran submitted that there was no legal impediment in continuation of President’s Rule which had been ratified by Parliament. The Assembly could be put under suspended animation for a period of one year.

A political party is required to have a minimum support of 36 MLAs to form the government in the 70-member House.  The BJP had emerged the single largest party after the Assembly polls in December last year with 31 seats.

It had the support of one MLA from Akali Dal. But its numbers have now come down to 28 after three of its legislators — Harsh Vardhan, Ramesh Bidhuri and Pervesh Verma — were elected to the Lok Sabha. The Election Commission has announced bypolls to fill the three seats on November 25.

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