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Pushing for an end to the impasse, the Supreme Court on Tuesday nudged the Centre to take a decision on formation of government in Delhi and said that people wanted MLAs to serve them and not get salaries sitting idle at home.
A Constitution bench led by Justice H L Dattu set the ball rolling by asking the Centre to come back to court on September 9 with a “positive” response on how to proceed about having a government in Delhi.
Indicating its inclination to end the deadlock continuing since February when Arvind Kejriwal quit as chief minister after failing to push his Jan Lokpal Bill, the bench questioned as to how long the Assembly should be allowed to remain in suspended animation in the current political situation.
“One party says it does not have the strength. Other says it has no desire. Third party is not in a position to stake the claim. In a situation like this, we ask why should people suffer when nobody is in a position to form government? Citizens of Delhi want to be ruled by a government and not by the Lt Governor. Please put an end to it. Take a decision, one way or another,” the bench said.
As Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimhan said that the Centre was alive to the political situation, the bench questioned as to what endeavours they were making to support their contention. “Please tell us for how long can this state of suspended animation continue?
Elected members sit at home without any work. MLAs are drawing salaries. Why should that happen? We are not treating this as a petition by a party or any member. We are looking at the Delhi citizen’s point of view… he may say he has elected a representative and he is drawing salary without providing any service,” remarked the bench.
The ASG said the law gave them a maximum period of one year from the date of declaration of President’s rule to decide on the future course of action and that the L-G was considering the issue in the right earnest. He assured the court that they were open to taking a decision.
The bench, however, said there has to be something to suggest that the matter was being continuously considered and a decision is reached whether there was a possibility of formation of a government in the present situation or fresh polls were warranted.
It observed that the court may consider requesting the L-G or the President to examine the current situation and take appropriate decision in a reasonable time but it would be more suitable if the Centre deliberates, decides and come back to the bench with a categorical answer.
Senior advocate and amicus in the case T R Andhyrujina, however, opined that the court should steer clear of issuing any directives in the matter since it was “purely political” and that the court may not have a role in the controversy if there was no judicial question to be determined. Appearing for the Congress, senior advocate K Parasaran also raised questions over possibility of the court passing any order.
At this, the bench said it would not issue any directive but will post the matter for September 9, expecting the government to take a decision by then.