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SC agrees to hear AAP plea to dissolve Delhi Assembly

New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear the Aam Aadmi Party's plea seeking a direction to the Lieutenant Governor to dissolve the Delhi Assembly and hold fresh polls along with Lok Sabha elections.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said that it would hear the petition on February 24.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for AAP, said “There is no possibility of any alternate government in Delhi and the Lieutenant Governor should have dissolved the Assembly.”

The joint petition filed on the basis of newspaper reports and documents available in public domain by AAP and Saurabh Bhardwaj, who was the Transport Minister in the Arvind Kejriwal Cabinet, challenged the decision to impose President's rule in Delhi on the recommendation of Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, alleging it was done to protect Congress leaders and former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit from corruption charges.

It contended that the February 16 order imposing President's rule was with a motive to frustrate the investigation in those corruption cases in which the first information report has been lodged by the Arvind Kejriwal government.

”Apparently, the motive behind not dissolving the Delhi Legislative Assembly and holding fresh election is to allow a political party which had badly lost the Delhi Legislative Assembly Election…to govern the NCT of Delhi indirectly through the central government as the same party is presently in power in the Centre,” it said.

”Thus, the aforesaid decision is not only arbitrary and illegal and in violation of the democratic rights of the citizens of Delhi but also mala fide,” the petition has said.

The petition has said the order to impose President's rule was “illegal, arbitrary and in violation” of Article 14 of the Constitution as after the resignation of Arvind Kejriwal government neither BJP nor Congress were in a position to form the government and they had already expressed their unwillingness in this regard.

It has further raised constitutional questions to keep the assembly under suspended animation by ignoring the categorical recommendation of the majority government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi for dissolving the House.

The petition has said that imposition of the President's rule has denied the citizens of Delhi their democratic right to have an elected popular government.

”The aforesaid order also suffers from malice-in-law since whilst exercising the discretionary power, the constitutional authorities have failed to take matters into account which they ought to have taken into account and used this power for an unauthorised purpose,” the petition filed through advocate Kamini Jaiswal has said.

”While imposing President's rule on the NCT of Delhi, the 5th Assembly of the NCT of Delhi has not been dissolved. The President of India while imposing President's rule under Article 239 AB (1) of the Constitution vide the impugned order suspended operations of clause 3(a), 4, 5 and 6 of Article 239 AA which are special provisions with respect to Delhi and deal with powers of legislatures, council of Ministers etc.

”Apart from suspending some of the provisions of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991, the order did not suspend the operation of the provision of clause 2 (a) of Article 239 AA which provides that there shall be a Legislative Assembly and thus, assumed power of legislatures, council of Ministers etc. without suspending Legislative Assembly,” It has said.

”In the present case, it was incumbent on the President, after assuming to himself all the powers of the Lt. Governor to himself, of course with aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, to exercise the power to dissolve the Assembly especially since there was no possibility whatever of the formation of any other government since other main political parties (viz. BJP and Congress) have already expressed their unwillingness and inability to form a government,” it has said.


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