New Delhi, July 4 :
Elections to Delhi assembly are unlikely to take place in the near future as the central government Friday opposed, in the apex court, the Aam Aadmi Party’s plea for the dissolution of the house, currently under suspended animation, and holding of fresh polls.
“Political executive has to be given time to ensure that the mandate of the people is not rendered infructous. It has to see if the government can be formed,” Additional Solicitor General P.S. Narsimhan told a bench of Chief Justice R.M.Lodha, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph.
However, the court referred the entire matter to the constitution bench as senior counsel Fali Nariman appearing for AAP said that the continued refusal of the government to not dissolve the assembly and hold fresh election was subject to judicial review.
The constitution bench, that would commence hearing from Aug 5, besides other questions would primarily determine whether the court can ask the government to dissolve the assembly and hold fresh elections.
Nariman told the court that if the assembly was not dissolved and fresh elections ordered, then people will be at the mercy of the whims of the executive (government).
He said that the constitutional authorities can’t abdicate their responsibilities.
“No executive authority can say we are beyond law. Courts can’t hear (plea for fresh elections),” he said.
Nariman said this as senior counsel Ashok Desai appearing for the Bharatiya Janata Party said: “Country can’t afford the luxury of fresh elections after every change in the political situation.”
Desai contested the AAP charge that several middlemen have approached its legislators, ostensibly on behalf of the BJP, to defect. “These are wild allegations,” he asserted.
Mocking the shifting positions of AAP, Desai said that AAP says there is no chance of the formation of a government and then from time to time, they seek the dissolution of the assembly, and at other times are against such a move.
“They (AAP) took power. They went out. They said that dissolve the house (assembly). Now they’re saying don’t dissolve. They are having second thought,” he told the court.
Joining Deasi in opposing the plea for an early election, Narsimhan said that the Delhi assembly was placed under suspended animation on Feb 16 and that the proclamation was for one year.
Meeting the contention of the government, senior counsel Shanti Bhushan said that a fresh election has become inevitable as the ground reality has undergone a sea change after the Lok Sabha election which saw the vote percentage of the BJP and AAP going up and that of the Congress coming down.
“Only way BJP can form government (in Delhi) is only through defection,” Bhushan told the court saying that “constitutional obligation has already arisen in the central government to hold fresh elections” to Delhi assembly along with that of Maharashtra, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir – scheduled in October.
The court was hearing the AAP plea challenging the Feb 16 decision of the central government not to dissolve the Delhi assembly as recommended by outgoing chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government and keep it under suspended animation.