LG seems to have primacy under Constitution, says Supreme Court

Blow to Arvind Kejriwal as SC says Delhi govt needs LG's approval for ruling national capital

The apex court, however, made it clear that the Lieutenant Governor can not sit on files, sent by the state government, beyond a reasonable period. Kejriwal government has challenged the August 4, 2016 judgment of the Delhi High Court that declared the L-G as the "administrative head" and ruled that he is not bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers.

The Delhi government argued in court that the elected government must have some sanctity and constitutional provisions have to be interpreted harmoniously.

Delhi has a unique position under the Indian Constitution, with its own state assembly and an administrator in the form of an L-G. 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.

The High Court had dismissed the Delhi government's claim that the AAP-Centre tussle was a "classic" federal dispute. The new notification, however, said that in police and other service matters, the L-G could take decisions independently. Justice Chandrachud ruled that the LG can not sit on files for long and has to pass it forth to the President of India in case of a difference of opinion.

It will decide on which all issues the aid and advice of the council of ministers need to be taken by the LG and also define the nature of his discretionary powers.

Subramanium also argued that HC's conclusion was result of misreading of the 69th amendment which incorporated Article 239AA into the Constitution in 1991 that gave special powers to Delhi. Supposing there is a difference of opinion, you have to find what are differences of opinion.

Justice Bhushan too asked Subramanium to be specific and cite instances of Lt. Governor standing in the way of Delhi government. However, the Parliament has overriding powers on both the state and concurrent lists to make laws, it said.

Justice Chandrachud said that the President exercises his administrative control over Union Territory through Lt Governor, and if there are specific instances of excesses, then the court can address them.

Sensing where the bench was driving at, Subramanium said that the Delhi government too was raising its resources.

Gopal Subramanium, representing Delhi government told Supreme Court that it has limited power and should be given more power.



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