LG seems to have primacy under Constitution, says Supreme Court

LG seems to have primacy under Constitution, says Supreme Court

Kerry Wise
November 3, 2017

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.

The daylong hearing saw judges questioning senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the city's state ruling Aam Aadmi Party, who argued that the Lt. Governor was exercising his powers in a manner to stultify the functioning of a democratically-elected government.

As Subramanium sought to blame Lt. Governor for creating hurdles in the functioning of Delhi government, Justice Chandrachud said that every government has to function within the parameters of the constitution and the Article 239AA defines the powers of Delhi government and Union Territory.

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.

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.

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

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The bench had begun adjudicating the raging turf war between the Delhi government and the Centre.

The Delhi HC quashed Kejriwal's plea. "Delhi High Court says the L-G of Union Territory of Delhi has greater power than the President and a state governor".

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.

To this, the bench said there are three things - executive action, difference of opinion and validity of such opinion, which needs to be deliberated. "The L-G feels he has inherent power to veto".

The batch of seven special leave petitions filed by the Delhi government has challenged the Delhi High Court's August 4 judgment which upheld the L-G's power not only over the police, land and public order but also in "services".

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