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Supreme Court Constitution bench begins hearing on Delhi-Centre governance row

Supreme Court Constitution bench begins hearing on Delhi-Centre governance row

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud said that besides raising their grievance, the petitioners could also assist the court in the adjudication of the challenge to the constitutional validity of the demonetisation decision.

The Constitution has constrained the Delhi government from superseding the authority of the Lieutenant Governor, the apex has said, in what may be a setback for the AAP government. The government had filed a petition against a High Court verdict which said that Delhi is not a state and hence the administrative power lies with the LG.

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.

Subramanium said that LG was taking several executive decisions and a harmonious interpretation of Article 239AA is required to fulfil the constitutional mandate for a democratically elected government in Delhi. As politics has played out over the past couple of years in Delhi, where the Supreme Court held the L-G has clearly been given primacy under Article 239AA of the Constitution, forget collegiality even civility has sometimes been absent in the interactions between the duly elected State government led by Arvind Kejriwal and the Delhi L-G appointed by the President of India.

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The high court emphasized the administrative capacity of the L-G, while ruling that Delhi continues to be a union territory under the Transaction of Business Rules despite Article 239 AA of the Constitution making some special provisions with respect to Delhi.

"Law is very clear at present that LG partially enjoys delegated powers of President and partially he has to work in aid and advice of council of ministers". The new notification, however, said that in police and other service matters, the L-G could take decisions independently.

The hearing by the two judge bench on Delhi government's appeals had seen the court favouring a balance in the exercise of powers by the Delhi government and the Lt. Governor for good governance. SC said, the LG will be the administrative head and will not be bound to advise of the council of ministers.


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