Apex court rejects AAP plea for early Delhi polls

Apex court rejects AAP plea for early Delhi polls

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a plea by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to direct the Election Commission to announce a schedule for the Delhi Assembly elections.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu disposed of the petition for dissolution of the Assembly, noting minutes after assembling that the Assembly stood dissolved since November 4 and was in suspended animation since February.

The court, however, kept open the legal question if a direction could be issued to the governor to dissolve the Assembly in terms of constitutional provisions, particularly Articles 239AA and 239AB, and Section 50 of the National Capital Territory of Delhi Act.

Appearing for the AAP, advocate Prashant Bhushan submitted that a direction should be issued to hold polls in Delhi at the earliest. “The Election Commission will take over. We can't issue any direction,” said the bench, also comprising Justices J Chelameswar, A K Sikri, R K Agrawal and Arun Mishra.

The AAP had approached the apex court apprehending that the proclamation order imposing President’s rule could continue for one year as enjoined in Section 50 (1) the Government of National Capital Territory Delhi Act, 1991, which would deprive the people of a popular government. As no political party came forward to stake claim to form a government, the Lieutenant Governor last week recommended dissolution of the House.

In the 70-member House, the BJP had emerged the single-largest party after last year’s polls with 31 seats, apart from the support of one MLA from the Akali Dal, its ally.

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. AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal had run the government for 49 days with 28 MLAs and the outside support of eight Congress legislators.