LG seems to have primacy under Constitution, says Supreme Court


The apex court had on February 15 referred to a Constitution Bench the pleas filed by the AAP government against the high court verdict which had held that Delhi is not a state and the LG is its administrative head. "Article 239AA is unique to Delhi".

The observation was made by a constitution bench comprising five judges as the Delhi government began its arguments on the long-standing tussle between the Centre and the state government over the exercise of administrative power in Delhi.

Justice Bhushan too asked Subramanium to be specific and cite instances of Lt. Governor standing in the way of Delhi government.

Pushing for more power for the state government in areas of public order and land, he said, "I am not questioning parliamentary supremacy but an elected government can not be sans power".

The Supreme Court on Thursday observed that there were inherent limitations on the powers of the Delhi government as laid down by the Constitution.

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In a major blow to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Supreme Court today ruled that his government needs the Lieutenant Governor's nod to govern the national capital. On the flip side, given the Constitutional scheme of things, ego if any must be put aside and the Government must work through the Lieutenant-Governor who does prima facie have primacy of power if that is what providing good governance to the residents of the Capital requires.

The top court by its December 16, 2016 order had referred all the petitions challenging the legality of demonetisation decision to the constitution bench.

It had said that the special constitutional provision Article 239AA dealing with Delhi does not "dilute" the effect of Article 239 which relates to the union territory and hence, the concurrence of the LG in administrative issues was "mandatory".

Sensing where the bench was driving at, Subramanium said that the Delhi government too was raising its resources.

The hearing by the two judge bench on Delhi government's appeals had seen the court favouring a balance in the exercise of powers by the Delhi government and the Lt. Governor for good governance.