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Above: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal greets Anil Baijal after sworn in as Lt. Governor of Delhi at Raj Bhawan in New Delhi (file picture). Photo: UNI

The constitution bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan on Thursday (November 2) dealing with the administrative power tussle between Delhi government and Lieutenant Governor (LG) said that LG has supremacy over the state government under the Constitution but noted that the LG cannot sit on files sent for assent by the Delhi government.

Gopal Subramaniam arguing for the Delhi government submitted to the apex court: “Art 239AA is a constitutional amendment. It is parliamentary amendment. And it will always need interpretation. Result of this amendment is to overpower earlier stand.

“That is there should be committee of ministers and LG will be bound by ministers. Council of ministers and chief minister as head is by virtue of constitution. In administration of 239AA, the result is by virtue of this proviso; it is LG who got all control of government.”

Subramaniam further contended: “What if any civil servant will surpass the rule and will say that I don’t want to go to CM but he will go to LG directly? What if tomorrow LG will take all power in his hands? He will say decision making is with me and no one can direct me. What CM will do then? One lakh sanctioned posts are vacant in Delhi. When asked they say we are taking instructions from LG.”

“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. If there is difference of opinion, then he may refer the matter to the President for early resolution,” the bench said.

The apex court listed the matter for next hearing to November 7, 2017.

—India Legal Bureau

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