The bench is hearing a batch of appeals filed by the Delhi government.
New Delhi: Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan asserted in the Supreme Court on Wednesday that Delhi has been given a special status in the Constitution and the government should function without any interference from the lieutenant-governor.
Appearing for the Kejriwal government, Mr Dhavan submitted before a five-judge constitution bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Kanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan that it is the duty of the L-G to act under the aid and advice of the council of ministers of Delhi.
The bench is hearing a batch of appeals filed by the Delhi government against a verdict of the Delhi high court holding that the lieutenant-governor was the boss and he had absolute administrative powers.
Counsel pointed out that the L-G is only a representative of the President to inform him about the day-to-day happenings and not to interfere in the administration of the executive government. He said the population of Delhi was soon to touch 20 millions and the democratically-elected government must fulfil the aspirations of the people.
He said Article 239 AA in the Constitution has made Delhi something different from other states but the executive power of the government has not been taken away. Counsel said the elected government has residuary power vested in it unless Parliament deems fit to interfere with it. Mr Dhavan argued that the powers of the Delhi government cannot be less than that of the Union Territory of Puducherry and if it were treated so then it would be a fractured federalism.
The CJI told Mr Dhavan, “We are now concerned with the lieutenant-governor’s perceived difference with the state government. Where is the need for a difference? Any difference of opinion, which the L-G has, cannot be termed as a dispute in the realm of the constitutional provisions. There has to be a real dispute.” Mr Dhvan replied that the Delhi government has not been created by devolution of powers but a gift of the Constitution. Arguments will continue on Thursday.