Delhi govt formation: SC finds LG’s efforts positive

NEW DELHI, Oct 30:
The Supreme Court today expressed satisfaction over Lt Governor Najeeb Jung’s recent moves to explore the possibility of Government formation in Delhi and said that he should be given more time as “there could be a minority Government with outside support”.
Referring to recent media reports, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu said, “Whatever I have read in newspapers, it appears that the LG has made positive moves.”
The bench asked Prashant Bhushan, counsel for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which has filed a plea seeking dissolution of the Assembly, to wait for sometime as the LG had started the consultation process with the political players in the national capital and adjourned the matter till November 11.
During the brief hearing, the bench also comprising Justices J Chelameswar, A K Sikri, R K Agrawal and Arun Mishra, said that if the LG feels that there is a possibility of Government formation, then he should be given time to explore it.
On the possibility of Government formation, the bench said, “There could be a minority Government with an outside support of some political outfit.”
Bhushan, however, said that there was no possibility of Government formation in the national capital in view of the position of political parties in the legislative assembly.
“We should always live in hope,” the bench said asking the counsel for AAP to wait till November 11 when it will again hear the matter.
The LG had yesterday decided to invite political parties to explore possibility of Government formation in Delhi.
Earlier, the apex court was informed by the Centre that the President has given his consent to LG’s proposal to invite BJP to form Government.
The court had also rapped the Centre and the LG over the delay, saying that in a democracy, President’s Rule cannot go on forever and questioned why the authorities failed to act expeditiously.
At the moment, a party needs the support of 34 MLAs for a simple majority in a House of 70 with three vacancies which are to be filled in by-elections late next month.
BJP had emerged the single largest party after the Assembly polls in December last year with 31 seats apart from the support of ally Akali Dal’s one MLA in the 70-member House. But its numbers have now come down to 28 after three of its legislators–Harsh Vardhan, Ramesh Bidhuri and Pervesh Verma–were elected to Lok Sabha.
After falling short of majority by four seats, BJP had refused to form the Government, saying it did not have the numbers and will not resort to any “unfair means” to take the reins.
AAP with 28 MLAs had formed the Government with the support of eight Congress MLAs. AAP’s strength has also come down to 27 after expulsion of party MLA Vinod Kumar Binny.
The court, while hearing a plea filed by AAP seeking dissolution of the Assembly, had earlier asked the Centre what steps it had taken to explore the possibility of Government formation.
In his letter to the President, the LG had referred to the resignation of the AAP Government on February 14, saying that it was not in “the interest of public to hold elections in such a short time after the elections of December 2013”.
“In accordance with the constitutional convention and also keeping in mind the law laid down by the Supreme Court that every effort must be made to form a popular Government before recommending dissolution, I shall be grateful if the Hon’ble President of India grants approval to invite BJP, that is even today the single largest party in the legislature to seek their interest in forming the Government (MLA strength of all parties as well as independents is attached).
“Should the BJP agree, I would ask them to demonstrate their strength to form a stable Government on the floor of the house within a stipulated time frame, possibly one week.
“Future course of action can be determined after taking into the account the response of the BJP,” the letter had said.
On August 5, the apex court had given five weeks’ time to the Centre to take a decision on dissolution of the Delhi Assembly “one way or another”, questioning it for continuing to keep the House in suspended animation when no party was coming forward to form the Government.
Bhushan had submitted that the “Centre is playing cat and mouse game with the court on the issue” and had pleaded the court to decide the case on merit.
He had said that there was no possibility of Government formation as neither AAP nor Congress is going to support BJP which has currently got only 28 MLAs in the Assembly and it is well below the majority mark of 36. (PTI)


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