Daily Archive: July 4, 2018

Who Is Delhi’s Boss? Top Court Verdict Today In AAP vs Centre: 10 Facts

NEW DELHI:

Is Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government a toothless body with all the powers to veto its decisions with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal? Mr Kejriwal will get a firm answer to the question today morning when the Supreme Court’s five judges led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra decide the city government’s petition against the court ruling that the Lieutenant Governor was ultimately, the administrative boss of Delhi. But the court’s decision may only end the legal battles over the tussle for power. Aam Aadmi Party, or AAP, has already launched a signature campaign to seek full statehood for Delhi, a demand first made by the BJP through the 1990s till it came to power at the centre.

Here are the 10 facts on this story:

  1. The top court’s constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra will pronounce the verdict at 10.30 am. The other judges on the bench include Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.
  2. Before the top court completed the hearings on 6 December last year, the judges had made it clear that they would only decide the larger issues on "law and principle" on the status of the national capital under the Constitution.
  3. In its verbal observations during the hearings, the court had indicated that Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor or LG appeared to have primacy under the Constitution but the LG too had to operate within some red lines.
  4. Under the Constitution and the law, the city government does not have any control in matters of land, bureaucracy and the police. In all other matters, Article 239AA of the Constitution says the LG has to be guided by the aid and advice of the elected government as happens in all states.
  5. For the national capital, however, there is a fine print. The LG, unlike a Governor, also has the power to disagree with the Delhi Cabinet on any advice. In such cases, the LG has to ask the centre to take the call but as an interim measure, can overrule the city government.
  6. It is this power that the LG has abused to eat into the elected government’s authority and block decisions taken by the Delhi Cabinet, the Supreme Court was told by the AAP government’s battery of lawyers including Gopal Subramanium, former minister P Chidambaram, constitutional expert Rajeev Dhavan and Indira Jaising.
  7. The centre has contended that the city government could not be given absolute powers in the national capital and its decisions would need the LG’s concurrence.
  8. P Chidambaram countered that the LG isn’t the "Viceroy of the British Crown" that he had been made out to be but only the President’s representative with a much narrower mandate.
  9. Within months of the AAP being swept to power in Delhi in 2015, the NDA government took the anti-corruption unit away from the city government and withdrew a 1998 concession granted by BJP patriarch LK Advani that mandated the LG to consult the elected government on every decision relating to police, public order and bureaucratic appointments.
  10. These decisions were the starting point of the tussle for power. The Chief Minister says that any important decision taken by his government is negated by the Lieutenant Governor, who he accuses of acting as a stooge of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to undermine the Delhi government.
  11. Source: NDTV