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SC quip on ayarams

New Delhi, April 17: The Supreme Court today decried the culture of political defections while hearing an Aam Aadmi Party plea challenging the imposition of President’s rule in Delhi on the ground that it was meant to promote defections by keeping the House alive.

“Should not ayarams and gayarams (political turncoats) be eliminated?” a two-judge bench said using a phrase that had gained popularity in the 1980s, particularly with reference to Haryana.

The court clarified that there were no constitutional bars on the revocation of President’s rule but said it could not pass any direction to the President or the Delhi lieutenant governor to act in any particular manner.

Arvind Kejriwal, while resigning as Delhi chief minister, had recommended dissolution of the Delhi Assembly and the calling of fresh elections, the petition says.

It argues that President’s rule was imposed, on a recommendation from lieutenant governor Naseeb Jung, so that the Assembly could be kept in suspended animation, opening up the possibility of defections.

The court said it would hear, or get a Constitution bench to hear, the larger question: whether the President was bound to dissolve an Assembly on a chief minister’s recommendation when there appeared no possibility of an alternative government in the near future.

But it refused to entertain the Aam Aadmi Party’s plea for a direction to Jung to either recommend dissolution of the Assembly to the President or take a quick decision on inviting the BJP or the Congress to form a government.

The court, however, agreed with additional solicitor-general K.V. Vishwanathan that there were no constitutional bars on the President from revoking a proclamation of President’s rule.

“We will not enter into areas of political matters, unless it involves interpretation of the Constitution,” the bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and Kurien Joseph said.

“We will hear the matter only as to whether the President is bound to dissolve the House or keep it under suspended animation. We cannot impose any order on the President or the LG.”

The court said it was necessary to examine the crucial question as any attempt to promote defections would be harmful to democracy.

“Nothing should be done to facilitate ayarams to be gayarams or vice-versa. These are legal and constitutional issues which are to be decided.”

Yet, the court felt that there were no permanent friends or enemies in politics and that even arch-rivals like the Congress and the BJP could come together to form a government.

The court did not agree with the Congress and BJP counsel --- who argued for status quo --- that the Aam Aadmi Party petition was too premature because it came just four days after President’s rule was imposed on February 16.

“If the proclamation is bad, should a party wait for more than four days?” the bench asked.

After hearing counsel Fali Nariman for the Aam Aadmi Party, K. Parasaran for the Congress and Mukul Rohatgi and P.S. Patwalia for the BJP, the court adjourned hearing for two weeks.

The court had earlier issued notices to the Congress and the BJP on the Aam Aadmi Party petition.