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  Metros   Delhi  01 Feb 2017  AAP government argues in SC for more powers

AAP government argues in SC for more powers

THE ASIAN AGE. | J VENKATESAN
Published : Feb 1, 2017, 1:38 am IST
Updated : Feb 1, 2017, 6:32 am IST

Says not asking for full statehood, questions Jung’s role.

Najeeb Jung
 Najeeb Jung

New Delhi: The AAP government while making it clear in the Supreme Court that it was not asking for a full statehood but only seeking more administrative powers, questioned the hurdles put by the then lieutenant-governor Najeeb Jung by claiming that all decisions will have to be taken with his consent.

Senior counsel Gopal Subramanian, appearing for the AAP government, made this submission before a bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and R.K. Agrawal hearing a batch of appeals challenging the Delhi high court judgment declaring Delhi a Union Territory and approving the L-G’s action.

Mr Subramanian said the HC had ruled that the L-G was the administrative head of the capital and was not bound by the aid and advice of the chief minister or council of ministers. He said the HC verdict subverted the democratic governance structure put by a constitutional arrangement which has granted special status to Delhi with an elected Assembly.

Counsel argued that the Union of India is encroaching on its powers in exercising executive power. He asserted that the Delhi government is not a subordinate department of the ministry of home affairs and that it is answerable to the people of Delhi and the Delhi Assembly, and not to the MHA. He said the extensive litigation between NCT Delhi and Union of India makes it clear that the lieutenant-governor as the delegate of the President has assumed the right to act in relation to all matters virtually taking away executive and legislative powers of the democratically-elected government.

Mr Subramanian submitted that according to the lieutenant-governor, all the executive actions of the government taken on the aid and advice of the council of ministers cannot be translated into orders without his consent.

He argued that the very object and purpose of distribution of powers between the Union of India and NCT of Delhi in Article 239AA(3) of the Constitution is defeated by this interpretation of the said Article and the unlawful assumption of the power by the L-G.

The counsel contended that if the L-G is the boss in terms of governance and decision-making process, then Parliament in its wisdom would not have provided for a council of ministers headed by a chief minister, who were collectively answerable to the Legislative Assembly.

He said it was a settled constitutional principle that the figurative head of a state, like governor or L-G, was bound by the decision of the council of ministers headed by the CM. But the HC chose to tread a new constitutional path and declared that the L-G had the discretion whether or not to heed the advice of the council of ministers. Pointing out that the administration had come to a standstill, he said this court will have to decide on the jurisdictional issues. Arguments will continue on Wednesday.

Tags: najeeb jung, aap government, supreme court
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi