The panel report didn’t accept the suggestion of a full statehood to Delhi and advised Delhi continue to be a UT but with special powers.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that in the interest of better administration, the lieutenant governor has to show statesmanship in his relations with the head of the elected government, particularly when the parties at the Centre and Delhi are different.
This observation was made by a five-judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Kanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan. They were hearing a clutch of appeals filed by the Delhi government questioning the interference of L-G Anil Baijal in the day-to-day administration.
Earlier, additional solicitor-general Maninder Singh, appearing for the Centre, made it clear that Delhi being a Centrally-administered Union Territory (UT), the elected government couldn’t claim exclusive executive powers, which are not envisaged under the Constitution.
He argued that the Constitution makers have declined to confer Delhi statehood and the special status provided under the Constitution won’t bring Delhi to the level of a state. The aid and advice contemplated for a governor of a state and the L-G of Delhi are different thereby all decisions must come to the L-G.
The CJI told the ASG “there has to be comity in the administration between L-G and the CM of Delhi. There has to be some kind of collegiality (relationship). The difference of opinion can’t be trivial. It has to be a substantive difference of opinion. We can’t lay down the areas of difference or the parameters within which they should function.”
Justice Chandrachud told Mr Singh, “If what you say is correct, then why elevate UT of Delhi by conferring constitutional status. The party at the Centre and the states may not be the same. Constitutional statesmanship is being exhibited by governors of various states and why the same be different for the L-G.”
Quoting the report of a special committee, he said it had stated that vesting absolute or exclusive executive powers with the UT would create chaos in the administration. Such a situation was never contemplated under the Constitution, he added.
The panel report didn’t accept the suggestion of a full statehood to Delhi and advised Delhi continue to be a UT but with special powers. There is a clear delegation of power favouring the L-G, he said.