Take steps to stop 'horse-trading', SC tells Centre
It has been learnt that, the court on Tuesday told the Centre to take steps "at the earliest" on the petition filed by Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The bench was hearing a petition filed by Kejriwal, where he accused BJP of indulging in ‘horse-trading’ to form Government in Delhi.
According to media reports, the recent political row arose when Delhi’s Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung last week recommended that the single largest party should be invited to form Government in Delhi and seeked permission from the President to call BJP though it falls short of majority.
Kejriwal jumped into the scene and accused the Governor of acting at the "behest" of BJP.
He questioned Najeeb Jung's intentions and alleged that Governor is unduly favouring BJP.
“It seems that the Delhi LG is batting for the BJP,” media quoted him as saying. Giving the situation a new twist, AAP on Sunday released a video where it was allegedly shown that BJP’s Sher Singh Dagar is seen talking to AAP legislator Dinesh Mohaniya.
In the 17-minute video, AAP alleged that BJP is trying to ‘horse-trade’ to form Government.
The BJP and its allies have 29 seats between them in the house of 70 and need at least seven more to form a Government.
The allegations were denied by BJP.
But Kejriwal approached the apex court to seek redress.
They claimed that in their so-called ‘sting operation’, a BJP leader was seen offering an AAP’s legislator four crores to switch sides.
On Tuesday AAP led by Kejriwal presented the ‘sting’ video in front of the five-judge Constitutional bench headed by Justice HL Dattu.
Taking cognizance of Kejriwal’s allegation, the top court came down heavily on the Centre and asked them to take all necessary steps and stop ‘horse-trading’.
BJP said the court that it will consider forming government in Delhi when they get letter from Lieutenant Governor.
The bench also said that it is not going to keep this matter pending for a longer period of time and asked the Centre to inform it about the decision to be taken by the President of India on the LG's letter.
“What is the possible time by which his Excellency would take a decision?” the bench asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) PS Narsimha, who was appearing for the Centre, media reported.
Replying to this, counsel told SC that LG Governor Najeeb Jung has sent a proposal to President Pranab Mukherjee and he is seriously considering and taking legal advice on the matter.
The court then said, it would take up the AAP video on October 10, but also cautioned the Centre against delaying a decision.
“When we granted the Centre time, our intention was to arrive at a resolution so that either a government is formed or fresh elections held,” the judges said.
Reacting to court’s ruling, Kejriwal said, “Have full faith in judicial system, will get justice in this matter.”
He took potshots at BJP by saying, “Why is BJP afraid of polls? It is their government, their governor, they have 7 MPs.”
He also said that they will be sending a copy of 'sting' CD to President and appeal to him not to heed L-G's advice of inviting BJP to form government in Delhi.
Delhi has been under President’s rule since February 14 following resignation of Arvind Kejriwal from the Chief Minister’s post on over his failure to pass anti-corruption Jan Lokpal Bill in the Assembly after staying in power for 49 days.
Three days later, his Council of Ministers also quit the Government.
Later that month, the party moved the Supreme Court for fresh round of polls.
Congress also demanded fresh elections. But the Lt Governor had not favoured dissolution of the Delhi Assembly and kept it in suspended animation.
In the 2012 Delhi polls, while BJP had won 31 seats in the 70-member house, AAP had won 28 seats and Congress managed to bag only 8.
But following Lok Sabha election, three party legislators were elected to Lok Sabha and had to resign their Assembly seats.