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SC to decide if LG is administrative boss of Delhi

SC to decide if LG is administrative boss of Delhi

The Supreme Court on Thursday observed that Delhi government has to take Lieutenant Governor's consent to govern the national capital but the latter can not hold a file beyond a reasonable period.

The Supreme Court's observations came while hearing the AAP government's petition challenging Delhi High Court's order that ruled the Lieutenant Governor was the national capital's administrator.

During the hearing, Mr Subramaniam told the bench that "an elected government can not be without any power".

The primary question that may arise for consideration of the Constitution Bench would be whether the appeals need to be further referred to an 11-judge Bench of the Supreme Court. Subramanium also sought to know if this "is contemplated under Article 239AA".

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The 1998 notification said that in matters of public order, police and services, the L-G of Delhi would consult the chief minister, and in cases otherwise, the reasons would be recorded.

The argument of the Delhi government to continue on Tuesday. Mr Subramanium argued that a harmonious interpretation of Article 239AA was needed to fulfil constitutional mandate for a democratic elected government in Delhi. This is because a nine-judge Bench of the apex court had in 1996 in the NDMC versus State of Punjab case, recognised Delhi as a Union Territory for taxation purposes. "Delhi High Court says the L-G of Union Territory of Delhi has greater power than the President and a state governor". However, the court observed that under the provisions of the constitution, the Lieutenant Governor has the last word and the elected government would have to operate within this framework.

Justice Bhushan too asked Subramanium to be specific and cite instances of Lt. Governor standing in the way of Delhi government.

"Special status to Delhi has been attributed by a constitutional amendment. Yes, that has to be genuine", the bench said.

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The apex court had on February 15 referred to the constitution bench the pleas filed by the AAP government against the high court verdict which had held that Delhi is not a state and the LG is its administrative head.

According to the Newspaper, As a result, the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers is neutralised...

"The LG can not use his power under Article 239AA proviso (4) to stultify the daily governance by sitting over the files", he said.

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