AAP versus Centre: SC says Delhi LG can't delay decisions

The Delhi government said in court the L-G had created a situation where no bureaucrat was obeying directions of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers

A five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra will on Thursday commence hearing a series of appeals filed by the Delhi government for laying down the law on whether the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) can unilaterally administer the Capital without being bound by the "aid and advice" of the elected government.

Subramanium said the Delhi government accepts the supremacy of Parliament and its powers but motive behind incorporating Article 239AA in the Constitution by amendments was to give voice to the people by democratically elected government. "LG in Delhi has the primacy under the Constitution", the bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, said. Subramanium also sought to know if this "is contemplated under Article 239AA". The L-G, he added, was holding meeting separately with the officials without ministers.

He said that though the Jan Lokpal Bill was passed by the Delhi assembly, it was pending with the Central government.

Assailing this finding Mr Subramanium said the HC verdict subverted the democratic governance structure put by a constitutional arrangement, which recognises Delhi's special powers despite being a Union Territory.

Agreeing with the apex court's prima facie observations on the issue, senior advocate Gopal Subramanium said there should be a "harmonious construction" of the legal provisions and the Constitution.

The Kejriwal government is seeking a judicial declaration on the boundaries of the constitutional relationship between the Delhi government and the Centre, in administering the Capital.

He said that proviso (4) in Article 239AA can not be used by the LG to frustrate the constitutional mandate of an elected government in Delhi.

While not framing the questions to be adjudicated by the Constitution Bench, the court had then asked both the Union government and the Arvind Kejriwal government to argue their respective cases before the larger bench.

It also said the governor can not sit on files beyond a reasonable period and needs to take quick decisions. "It was not a structural addition to the Constitution and has been founded on constitutional values of accountability, transparency and amenity to the rule of law, which need to be considered in this case", he said.

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

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