Bench will decide whether President, on advice of Governor, can be directed to dissolve House

A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will adjudicate whether the President on the advice of the Governor could be directed to dissolve a Legislative Assembly which is in suspended animation.

A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice R.M. Lodha and Justices Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph referred to the Constitution Bench a writ petition filed by the Aam Aadmi Party seeking dissolution of the Delhi Assembly.

“Since the matter involves interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, viz. Article 239AB read with Rule 50 of the National Capital Territory Act, we are of the view that it needs to be heard by a five-judge Constitution Bench. List this matter on August 5,” the Bench said in its brief order.

During the resumed hearing on the writ petition filed by the AAP challenging the Assembly being kept in suspended animation, senior counsel Fali Nariman pointed out that after three BJP MLAs were elected as Members of Parliament, the strength of the BJP had come down to 28 from 31.

It was now clear that no party was in a position to form the government and there was no reason for not holding the elections. He alleged that the BJP was inducing defections to form the government.

Appearing for the Congress, senior counsel K. Parasaran said, whether the Assembly could be dissolved or kept under suspended animation or whether government formation was possible or not were not within the scope of judiciary to determine.

He, however, said since such an issue had arisen for the first time it should be referred to a Constitution Bench.

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