SC reserves verdict on dispute over Delhi government powers

Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt. Governor, Sh. Anil Baijal (file photo). Image credit: Hindustan Times.

 –TMC Desk

New Delhi, Dec 6: The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on the issue of who — whether the Centre or the Delhi government — has the powers to administer the national capital.

A Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra heard for 15 days the Delhi government’s plea against a Delhi High Court verdict that held the primacy of the Delhi Lt Governor over an elected government to administer the national capital.

The bench also comprises Justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan.

The Delhi government contended that it has the executive powers as per which it can aid and advise the Lt Governor on all matters.

The Delhi government, in the course of the hearing, contended that an elected government can’t be subservient to the overriding authority of the Lt Governor.

The Aam Aadmi Party government said it was only in an emergency situation that the Lt Governor can refer a matter — on which there are differences of opinion between him and the elected government — to the President of India.

The state government said constitutional provisions can be interpreted only to advance the goals of the Constitution and people’s democratic aspirations.

On the other hand, the Centre contended that all executive powers to administer Delhi were vested in the Union government which acted through the Lt Governor.

The Centre told the court that the “aid and advice” by the elected government was not binding on the Lt Governor, as was the case in other States.

As the Centre insisted that the Lt Governor has the power to decide on the correctness or otherwise of Delhi government decisions, the apex court observed that he should show “constitutional statesmanship” in dealing with an elected government.


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