Friday, Sep 19, 2014

Yet to pick venue for public session, Bhushan tells HC

Bhushan told the HC that a venue will be decided once the session date is finalised. (PTI) Bhushan told the HC that a venue will be decided once the session date is finalised. (PTI)
Express News Service | New Delhi | Posted: February 14, 2014 2:51 am | Updated: February 14, 2014 9:53 am

In an about-turn from the statement issued by the Delhi government that the Jan Lokpal Bill would be passed in an Assembly session in public, advocate Prashant Bhushan told the Delhi High Court on Thursday that a “decision was yet to be taken as the council of ministers is yet to advise the L-G” on the issue.

In response to a plea filed against the government decision, Bhushan, appearing for the government, told a bench of Justice B D Ahmad and Justice Siddharth Mridul that a decision would be taken once the Bill was tabled and the date for discussion on the Bill was finalised by the Assembly. “This writ petition is premature,” Bhushan argued.

The High Court had on Wednesday issued notice to the government on a plea by K K Mandal, an assistant professor at Delhi University.

The plea claimed that the government did not have the authority to change the venue of the Assembly session.

On Wednesday, the court had also observed that the decision to shift the Assembly venue was under the discretionary powers of the Lt-Governor of Delhi.

The court had asked the government to explain the reasons for the decision and the cost involved in holding the Assembly session at a public place.

Bhushan, however, argued that the court did not have the jurisdiction to question the government’s expenditure for a “public purpose”.

The court dismissed the argument, observing that a decision to shift the Assembly venue would be open to judicial review.

“There has to be a good reason. We have to flesh out such issues by taking extreme examples. It is not like the L-G and the government can take a decision to shift the Assembly to Goa,” the bench said.

Nitin Meshram, advocate for Mandal, agreed to withdraw his petition after the court noted that “no decision had been taken by the L-G to hold the Assembly at a place other than the precincts of the Vidhan Sabha”.

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