Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Delhi government moves Supreme Court against NGT appointing LG as head of solid waste management committee

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A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court by the Delhi government, challenging the decision of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to appoint Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena as head of the high-level committee for handling solid waste management in Delhi.

Filed through Advocate Shadan Farasat under Section 22 of the NGT Act, the petition argued that the February 2023 order of NGT appointing the LG as the head of the high-level committee was violative of the Constitution.

It said the Constitution had conferred the executive power for matters relating to local governance exclusively to the state government, which in this case was the GNCTD, except to the extent limited by an express Parliamentary law.

Since the public health, sanitation and solid waste management were enshrined under Entry 6 of Schedule 12 of the Constitution, the power to deal with the issues concerning the municipal corporations in Delhi was with the local government, added the petition.

It said the functioning of Municipal Corporation was referable to Entry 5 of the State list, which was not an excepted subject and therefore, within the ‘executive ken’ of the elected government of Delhi.

It further contended that under Article 239AA of the Constitution, LG was only a nominal figurehead except in areas of police, order and land, where he exercised his powers in lieu of the power designated by the Constitution.

The GNCTD had recently also challenged the NGT order in Ashwani Yadav vs Govt of NCT of Delhi, in which the Tribunal had appointed LG as the head of the high-level committee concerning cleanliness of Yamuna River.

The Counsel referred to the 2018 order of the Supreme Court in the case State (NCT of Delhi) vs Union of India 8 SCC 501, wherein the Apex Court had ruled that the elected government of the NCT of Delhi has exclusive executive powers over all subjects in the State and Concurrent List, apart from the three excepted subjects of public order, police and land.

He said the remedial measures for the management of solid waste did not fall under these excepted heads and therefore, the subject came under the power of the Delhi government.

(Case title: Govt. of NCT of Delhi v.National Green Tribunal, Delhi & Ors)

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