New Delhi: The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on Wednesday on a batch of petitions filed by the Kejriwal government questioning the overriding powers of the Lt Governor of Delhi under Article 239 AA of the Constitution.
A five judge Constitution bench headed by the Chief Justice Dipak Misra had reserved verdict on December 6, 2017 on the petitions, which contended that the Lt Governor could not claim absolute executive powers in the administration of the Union Territory.
The Kejriwal government argued that the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) had created a situation where no bureaucrat is obeying directions of Ministers and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The Lt Governor, it said was holding meetings separately with officials without Ministers which was against the democratic governance of an elected government.
The court heard arguments on a batch of special leave petitions filed by the Delhi government against a judgment of the Delhi High Court, which held that the L-G was the administrative head of the capital and was not bound by the aid and advice of the Chief Minister or council of Ministers.
The High Court also held that the then L-G, Najeeb Jung was its administrative head and all decisions will have to be taken with his consent and concurrence.
Assailing this finding the Kejriwal government said the HC verdict subverted the democratic governance structure put by a constitutional arrangement, which recognises Delhi’s special powers despite being a Union Territory. It argued that Article 239 AA could not be used by the Lt Governor to frustrate the constitutional mandate for an elected government in Delhi.
The appeals said, “If the L-G the boss in terms of governance and decision-making process, then Parliament in its wisdom would not have provided for a council of ministers headed by a chief minister, who were answerable to the legislative assembly. It was submitted that several of the government files remained pending with the L-G, some for over a year.
The Centre had argued that Delhi continued to be a Union Territory and all decisions would have to be taken only with the approval of the Lt Governor. The Delhi government cannot by-pass the Lt Governor in the decision making process.