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Published On: Wed, Jul 4th, 2018

LG is bound by the “aid and advice of the Kejriwal govt :SC

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delhi-cm-pc_51c0a334-7f6b-11e8-bd7f-aad8d1b78451NEW DELHI : In the battle between the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, the Supreme Court on Wednesday gave more power to the elected government in Delhi and limited the role of the L-G.
CJI Dipak Misra, who wrote the opinion for himself, and Justices A.K. Sikri and A.M. Khanwilkar held that except for issues of public order, police and land, the Lieutenant Governor is bound by the “aid and advice of the Kejriwal government, which has the public mandate.” In this regard, the CJI interpreted the phrase “any matter” in the proviso to Article 239AA(4) as not “every matter.”

The L-G’s role can’t be obstructionist, he must work together with the council of ministers and respect their decisions,” Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said while reading out the verdict of the five-judge Constitutional bench. In addition to the CJI, the bench comprised Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.

New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers celebrate the verdict of Supreme Court on the power tussle between the Delhi government and the Centre decision, outside Party office, in New Delhi on Wednesday, July 04, 2018. (PTI Photo)(PTI7_4_2018_000068B) *** Local Caption ***

New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers celebrate the verdict of Supreme Court on the power tussle between the Delhi government and the Centre decision, outside Party office, in New Delhi on Wednesday, July 04, 2018. (PTI Photo)(PTI7_4_2018_000068B) *** Local Caption ***

The top court made it clear that except for anything related to land, police and public order, the Lt Governor has no independent decision-making powers under the constitution.
The Top Court unanimously held that the Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi is bound by the “aid and advice” of the popularly-elected Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and both have to work harmoniously with each other. It noted that there is no room for anarchy or absolutism in a democracy.

The NCT government need only to inform the LG of its “well-deliberated” decisions. The government need not obtain his “concurrence” in every issue of day-to-day governance.

The Lieutenant Governor does not have independent decision-making powers in Delhi and the real power must lie with the elected government, the Supreme Court ruled today in a spectacular legal victory for Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the long-running fight over who’s the boss in the national capital.
“The states should enjoy freedom without unsolicited interference from the centre…popular will cannot be allowed to lose its purpose,” the court said,
“Real authority to take decisions lie in the elected government. This is the meaning of ‘aid and advice.’ Titular head (LG) has to act in accordance to aid and advice,” Justice D.Y. Chandrachud observed in his separate opinion. He concluded that there is no independent authority with the LG to take decisions except in matters under Article 239 or those outside the purview of the National Capital Territory (NCT)  government.
Elected representatives would be reduced to a cipher if ‘any matter’ in Article 239AA (4) was interpreted as every matter of governance, Justice Chandrachud agreed.
The CJI wrote that a reference to the President was only an exception and not the general rule. “In this context, even in case of differences of opinion, the LG and the NCT government should act with constitutional morality and trust for each other. The LG cannot act without applying his mind and refer everything to the President.”
Referring to the prolonged spat between the LG and the Kejriwal government on various issues, from a freeze on appointment of bureaucrats to mohalla clinic staff to school teachers, the CJI said the spirit of collective responsibility in the Constitution should not be “lost in drama.” “Constitutional discord should be avoided. There is a need for real discipline and wisdom.”
Should Delhi be given statehood?
The CJI, however, adhered to the nine-judge Bench judgment of the Supreme Court in the NDMC versus State of Punjab to conclude that Delhi is not a ‘State.’ The judgment also held that the LG is not a Governor but only an “administrator in a limited sense.”

“Real and substantive power lies with the elected representatives in a democracy. They owe responsibility to the legislature,” Justice Chandrachud observed, agreeing with the CJI that a “mixed balance” has to be struck considering the special status of the Delhi and “fundamental concerns” as Delhi is the National Capital.

In 2016, AAP went to the Supreme Court against the High Court’s order that the Lt Governor is the administrative boss of Delhi. The top court, disagreeing with the high court today, said the Lt Governor “should not act in a mechanical manner and stall decisions of the Delhi cabinet”.
“A big victory for people of Delhi”, said Mr Kejriwal, whose three-year rule in Delhi has been marked by protests and dharnas, most recently on sofas at Lt Governor Anil Baijal’s home last month. “There is no room for absolutism and there is no room for anarchism also,” the court said.
The tussle started months after the AAP swept to power in Delhi in 2015, winning 67 of 70 seats and reducing the BJP to only three. AAP alleges that the BJP-led central government has since been exacting revenge and using the Lt Governor to block every decision taken by the Kejriwal government.(With Agency Inputs ).

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