LG's decision would prevail in disputes: SC

The Delhi government said in court the L-G had created a situation where no bureaucrat was obeying directions of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers

The Delhi government said in court the L-G had created a situation where no bureaucrat was obeying directions of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers

He said the challenge is to Article 239 AA by virtue of which special status is accorded 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.

During the hearing, Mr Subramaniam told the bench that "an elected government can not be without any power".

The apex court, however, made it clear that the Lieutenant Governor can not sit on files, sent by the state government, beyond a reasonable period.

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The bench noted that Constitution has limited Delhi government's powers and it can not have a say on public order, police and land.

If a dispute were to arise between the Lieutenant Governor and the Chief Minister, the former would be the final authority until the President makes a decision, the apex court added.

Subramanium stressed said the court must "interpret the text and values behind the provisions of Article 239AA of the Constitution" and the objective it serves.

The 1998 notification said that in matters of public order, police and services, the L-G of Delhi would consult the chief minister, and in cases otherwise, the reasons would be recorded. Provision (4) in the Article 239AA can not be exploited by the LG to frustrate the constitutional mandate suggested the SC adding that President should be consulted immediately in cases of difference of opinion. 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 existence of the LG in administrative issues was "mandatory" mentioned the apex court and the AAP government will have to adopt in the framework.

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