The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the Centre four weeks to inform it about the outcome of the process initiated by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung to end the political deadlock in the Capital.
A constitution bench headed by Justice HL Dattu said the continued impasse could lead to horse-trading. The court did not entertain the Aam Aadmi Party's request to take on record a CD of its sting exposing the BJP's alleged efforts to buy out its MLAs. It asked the party to wait till October 10, the next date of hearing.
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The direction came after additional solicitor general P Narasimha apprised the bench of the L-G's September 4 letter to the President. Submitting a copy, he said the L-G had sought permission to invite the single largest party - the BJP - to form the government. The developments, he added, showed efforts were being made to end the stalemate, which rendered the AAP's challenge to the President's rule in Delhi infructuous.
The bench disagreed with the ASG and said the petition would remain pending but not for long. It declined the Centre's request to dismiss AAP's petition. It also refused to adjourn the matter till October end.
"On the last date of hearing, it was made clear to you (Centre) that either election be held or a government is formed. The Centre should take a decision, otherwise the alleged horse-trading will continue," the bench remarked.
AAP leader and former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was present in court during the hearing. Referring to the CD, AAP counsel and senior advocate Fali Nariman accused the BJP of indulging in "horse-trading". The AAP has accused Delhi BJP vice-president Sher Singh Dagar and his party colleague Raghuvir Dahiya of offering money to AAP MLA Dinesh Mohania to defect.
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Justice Lodha commented: "Why we call this horse-trading? Why not man's trading? May be it is because of the fact that horses are costlier than men," quipped one of the other judges.
The bench, however, told Narasimha that government formation was in the interest of everybody. "How much time do you require?" the bench asked, insisting on a time-frame.
The ASG did not give any assurance, saying the matter was before the President for his consideration. He demanded dismissal of the AAP's petition. Narasimha also opposed AAP's placing the CD. "Petitioner (AAP) is a political party which is participating in the very political process as such has an agenda. In such a situation, the court will not be drawn into such a process," he said.