Govt or fresh polls in Delhi: SC gives Centre 5 weeks to decide

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Govt or fresh polls in Delh

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked lieutenant governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung to decide the fate of Delhi assembly — either to revive it by exploring installation of a popular government or dissolve it to make way for fresh elections — within five weeks.

“We are adjourning hearing on the constitutional questions posed by the petition filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seeking a direction to the LG to dissolve the House. We want you (LG) to take a positive decision in five weeks,” said a bench of Justices H L Dattu, J Chelameswar, A K Sikri, R K Agrawal and Arun Mishra.

After senior advocate Fali S Nariman explained the position relating to Delhi assembly, where the BJP’s strength has depleted due to three of its members getting elected as MPs, the bench said, “Now that we have expressed our mind, let them take a decision one way or the other. We think they will take a decision.

Additional solicitor general P S Narasimha, appearing for Delhi government and senior advocate K Parasaran, appearing for Congress, said AAP could not demand dissolution of the assembly as it was the LG’s prerogative to take a decision after exploring the options for government formation.

The stalemate arose as BJP refused to form a government after the AAP government, formed with support of Congress, quit office when it failed to push through its pet Lokayukta bill. The LG has kept the assembly in suspended animation since the Arvind Kejriwal government quit on February 14.

Brushing aside the opposition from Delhi government and Congress to AAP’s plea, the bench said, “Suppose a citizen, who is a resident of Delhi, comes before the court and says taxpayer’s money is being paid as salary to the MLAs but there is no work for them. He will say I want my elected representative to get down to work. But they are not being allowed to work. So is it not time for the authorities to take a decision.”

Indicating that keeping the assembly in suspended animation was not serving any public interest, the bench added, “We are not passing any direction, but asking the authorities to react to a situation in a definite manner.”

Kejriwal’s party, which formed the government with its 28 MLAs and outside support of eight Congress MLAs, lasted just 49 days and resigned when it failed to push through its prime anti-corruption promise, Lokayukta bill. It had recommended dissolution of the assembly which was not heeded by the LG.

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