Above: (Left) Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. Photo: UNI
The tussle between the Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi regarding the separation of powers continued at the Supreme Court on Wednesday (November 29).
In the end it was a critical question by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that set the tone for the next hearing. Talk was about the LG supposedly sitting on important files. The court was keen to know whether the LG has the power to sit on those files. At this the Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh informed the court that he does have the power.
Singh clarified a few points. He said that it is not so in India, but in many countries the Union governments have authority on their national capitals.
He also said that some different suggestions were given by the committee set up to look into issues. These are:
- Existing structure
- Directive responsibility
- Full-fledged government power
- Powers of Council of ministers
He said it was not possible to identify all the subjects. Subjects from No. 1 to 3 are not in focus, he said. He said that if it was a part of statutory law then why is it not in the entries? There would be some entries related to NCT of Delhi and Pondicherry (Puducherry).
Then came the contentious issue of the official services. He said it remains the central civil services. He said Article 308 (interpretation) is common to all the services.
Singh showed Article 239AA of the Constitution and said that from 1953 when Goa came into existence, these things were there. It was also in 1966 act. This is faithfully accepted by the constitution makers.
Singh said: “I have shown all the acts which is related to this. Article 308 makes it clear that if any contest is allowed then only Jammu and Kashmir can do that. There are no separate services for other states or UT.
“From 1959 it is central civil service. Civil services comes under central. And that is why it is central civil services,” he pointed out. “Even when a state law permits the fire services, is not services for civil, but it is utility service.”
Showing the relevant portions of the Delhi Fire Services Act, he said: “This is enacted by the Delhi legislature, but it is enacted by our consent and they have made it with us. I have the power over state.”
Thereafter Singh alleged: “And what they (the Delhi government) have done? They denied to give it (the powers) to the LG. No interpretation of this has been given.”
Singh also showed some verdicts from constitution benches to prove his point. He showed three judgments. He also showed the constitutional bench judgment which is related to Section 42 of the Income Tax Act.
He said: “In the state of Rajasthan there were different services authorities. So, for collation, a new enactment was done. Section 3 and 4 are related to this.”
That was when the CJI intercepted: “We are on the issue of power. If the LG has the power to sit on a file then he can sit. But the question is, does he have the power to do so?”
The ASG said: “He does not sit on matters. And he has that power.”
—India Legal Bureau