Plea withdrawn against assembly session outside building



A petition against the government’s proposal to hold a session outside the assembly building to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill was Thursday withdrawn from the Delhi High Court. Appearing for the Arvind Kejriwal government, advocate Prashant Bhushan told a division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sidharth Mridul that the venue is up to the discretion of the Lt. Governor under the aid and advice of the council of ministers. He told the court Lt. Governor has not given any direction with regard to holding the assembly session outside the Vidhan Sabha premises.

During the hearing, the bench said: “Suppose if the Lt. Governor decides to hold the assembly session in Goa, is it possible? It will come under judicial review. We understand if there was some special circumstances. We are holding court here, tomorrow can we say we want to hold the court at India Gate?” The court was hearing a plea by Kedar Mandal, an assistant professor in Delhi University, against the decision of the government to hold the assembly session at a stadium, saying it will incur an expenditure of Rs.50 lakh.

The court also questioned the government on spending extra money in holding the session outside. Answering the court’s query, Bhushan said: “I don’t think there is going to be an issue or crisis here, if the session is held outside. “Since the council of ministers is yet to fix the time and place of the assembly, and no decision has been taken as yet, the petition is premature.” The court said that as the Lt. Governor has not given any direction with regard to holding the session outside the Vidhan Sabha premises, the petitioner has withdrawn his plea with the liberty to file a fresh petition after the decision is taken.