Decide Who Is Primary Authority In State, Delhi Government Tells Supreme Court

The bench was told that the "Delhi government was a creation of the Constitution (created under Article 239AA) in exercise of the constitutional powers of Parliament and as such stood on a different footing".

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Decide Who Is Primary Authority In State, Delhi Government Tells Supreme Court

A Supreme Court Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra was hearing the matter (File)


New Delhi:  The Supreme Court was on Wednesday urged to decide whether a Chief Minister accountable to a democratically elected assembly and the people or the President's nominee Lt Governor was the primary authority to govern the national capital.

"You have to decide which is the primary authority -- one that is directly elected or the Lt Governor," senior counsel Rajiv Dhavan, appearing for the Delhi government, told a Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AK Sikri, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud, and Justice Ashok Bhushan. 

Mr Dhavan told the bench: "If we go by the principle of parliamentary democracy, then the Chief Minister is the primary authority heading a responsible government answerable to the legislature and the people". 

The bench was told that the "Delhi government was a creation of the Constitution (created under Article 239AA) in exercise of the constitutional powers of Parliament and as such stood on a different footing".

"It (Delhi government) is not a gift of any law. It is a gift of the Constitution itself," Mr Dhavan told the bench hearing a batch of petitions by the Delhi government challenging the Delhi High Court order holding that the Lt Governor had the final authority in the governance of Delhi.

Telling the bench that proviso 4 to Article 239AA has to be read as whole, as it does not depend on any one word (used therein), Mr Dhavan asked: "Does he (Lt Governor) have veto power. He is a representative of the President."

"There is a legislative assembly, endowed by the Constitution. It has the power over the State list and the Concurrent list as well."

"There is a role of the Lt Governor and the role of the Chief Minister -- both have to be reconciled. Keeping in mind that the Lt Governor is a representative of the President," Dhavan said, emphasising that as "elected Chief Minister, he has both executive and implementing powers. All decisions are carried in the name of the Lt Governor because of the Rules of Procedure, that is why there is aid and advice in the proviso 4 of Article 239AA of the Constitution."

Mr Dhavan will continue his arguments.


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