Constitution doesn't envisage Delhi as a state, Centre tells SC

Elias Hubbard
November 22, 2017

"State is not sought on the text and context of the Constitution but by its interpretation by the court (by) citing principles, Westminster model and accountability", Maninder Singh, appearing for the Centre, told the bench while rebutting Delhi government's arguments on the matter. The Centre told the bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra, that Delhi is a Union Territory and the AAP government can not claim privileges of a state government.

It argued that Delhi, which enjoys special status under the law, could not be treated on a par with a full-fledged state with regard to the powers it can exercise and that its role should be restricted to that of municipal governance. Article 239AA (4) provides a special provision for Delhi and says there shall be a council of ministers with the CM at the head to aid and advise the LG in the exercise of his functions in matters with respect to which the assembly has power to make laws, except in so far as he is, by or under any law, required to act in his discretion. Unless there is a specific mention, you can't read State into it. The court should not interpret something which is not there in the Constitution. He said the Constitution provided a harmonious scheme for balance of power among different institutions but the NCT government had created disharmony. "To spend money, you have to have some in your pocket", the law officer submitted.

However, the Delhi government counsel Rajeev Dhawan contested the powers of Lieutenant governor.

Mr. Singh said Delhi government wants "uncontrolled, vertically divided executive power".

He also refuted the allegations, as claimed by the Delhi government, that the Lieutenant Governor sits on files sent by the government for their execution. Soon after the AAP government had challenged the High Court's decision in the Supreme Court, contending that a "democratically elected government can't be subservient to the Lieutenant Governor. All meetings held in Delhi, Chief Minister or ministers of the government are part of it", the ASG said.

The Delhi government is at best meant to take care of the "daily utilities" of the National Capital. Rejecting the AAP government's stand, the HC ruled in August this year that "the contention of the Delhi government... is without substance and can not be accepted".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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