Why assembly session in public, HC asks Delhi's Kejriwal govt

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's vow that he would hold an assembly session in public to pass the vexed Delhi Lokpal Bill for a corruption watchdog has run into another legal problem, as the Delhi High Court today sought a response from the state government on a plea seeking to restrain it from holding a session of the assembly outside the house and in public.

"Is there any provision to hold an assembly session outside the designated place?" a bench of comprising Justices B D Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul asked, seeking a response from the Delhi government by tomorrow (Wednesday).

"If we are satisfied that the petition is premature then we will throw it out. But you need to answer some Constitutional questions," the bench told the Delhi government counsel.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Delhi University professor Kedar Kumar Mandal seeking to restrain the Kejriwal government from holding the session outside the Assembly building, saying it is a "populist" decision which is not in consonance with the settled law.

The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi had made an electoral promise that it would pass the lokpal bill in a public session of the assembly to be held at one of Delhi's large public grounds. But apart from the venue, the legality of such a bill passed without the Centre's consent is itself in question.