Wednesday, 16 October, 2019

Court setback for Modi; Kejriwal gets a boost

The Supreme Court Wednesday is likely to decide who the administrative head of the national capital is — the Delhi chief minister or Lieutenant Governor Court setback for Modi; Kejriwal gets a boost
Patty Aguilar | 05 July, 2018, 18:53

The Supreme Court laid down clear guidelines for the LG's conduct, and delineated the powers of the two branches of the executive in Delhi, which does not have the status of a full state.

The Centre, on the other hand, raised questions over several "illegal" notifications, issued by the AAP government in Delhi.

"All constitutional functionaries must uphold constitutional morality and must function within the spirit of the Constitution".

Penning down the major judgment for the bench, Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, "L-G has no independent decision-making power and can not behave as an obstructionist when the constitution gives primacy to representative for of government and L-G and Aam Aadmi Party-led government must work in a harmonious manner". The judgement pronounced by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who was heading a five judge Constitution bench, also held that the LG can not act as an obstructionist. Why should LG act beyond three reserved powers.

The local government and Modi's administration have traded blame for Delhi's mounting problems.

The court said the LG has not been inferred with independent decision-making powers.

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In the cabinet form of government, the advice of the council of ministers has primacy, even in a Union territory that Parliament can technically choose to govern through the President.

Speaking to reporters, Sisodia had issued a new order making the chief minister as the "approving authority" on the transfers of IAS, DANICS, All India Services Officers, equivalent officers of Central Civil Services/ Provincial Civil Services.

It was ruling on a batch of appeals filed by Kejriwal's government challenging the Delhi High Court's August 4, 2016, order holding the LG as the administrative head of the national capital. Priviso 4 of Article 239AA of the Constitution says if there is a "difference of opinion" between the L-G and the Delhi government, the L-G can refer it to the President.

Emphasizing on "constitutional morality" and respect for a democratic government, the Supreme Court held that the Delhi L-G does not hold any independent authority in governance and is bound by the aid and advise of the council of ministers who represent the popular will of the people. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra delivered three different verdicts.

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said there was no room is the Constitution for absolutism and a balance must be struck to achieve the goals of cooperative federalism. It is a Union territory designated as the National Capital Territory of Delhi, with its own legislative assembly and council of ministers. "As per Article 239AA of the Constitution, Delhi is not a state, it is a Union territory", Dikshit said.

The apex court's ruling has come as a shot in the arm for Arvind Kejriwal, who has for long contended that the L-G was playing an obstructionist role, and was not allowing his government to function freely. They said the issue of control over transfers and postings will be taken up by the regular bench of the Supreme Court.

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