Fight for Delhi: AAP govt turns to Supreme Court in turf war with Centre

The Delhi government contended that since the dispute impacts the federal structure of the Constitution, the Supreme Court alone has the jurisdiction to entertain such a dispute.

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR | New Delhi | Published: April 28, 2016 2:53:59 am
Arvind Kejriwal, aam aadmi party, Kejriwal Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

The Delhi government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court, urging it to decide the disputes between the Centre and the Delhi government under Article 131 of the Constitution.

Stating that the turf war between the BJP at the Centre and the AAP administration had caused ‘undue hardship’ to the citizens of the capital, the Delhi government urged that the Supreme Court intervene. The Delhi government contended that since the dispute impacts the federal structure of the Constitution, the Supreme Court alone has the jurisdiction to entertain such a dispute.

“Several disputes have arisen between the Union of India and the Delhi government in the recent past, over various facets of the administration of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi. From the appointment of public prosecutors, to the setting up of commissions of inquiry to look into instances of corruption and maladministration by public servants, the Union, acting through the Lieutenant Governor, has opposed most executive decisions taken by the Government of NCT of Delhi,” the Delhi government has contended.

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Government sources told The Indian Express the conflict has led to litigation, which has been pending before the Delhi High Court since early 2015.

Alleging that the Centre was ‘encroaching’ on the executive powers of the Delhi government, the latter has sought “a declaration of the constitutional relationship between the Central Government and NCT of Delhi as set out in Article 239AA of the Constitution.”

The Delhi government has has come to the conclusion that “these questions relating to the distribution of legislative and (co-extensive) executive powers are questions that require to be resolved finally and conclusively so as to prevent any further adversity to its residents.”

“Article 131 of the Constitution of India vests exclusive jurisdiction with the Supreme Court of India over disputes between States of the Union and between the Union and its States. It is the stand of the NCT of Delhi that it is a State for the purposes of Article 131 and that the disputes arising between the NCT of Delhi and the Union of India can only be adjudicated upon by the Supreme Court,” said a government source.

The Delhi government has stated that as per Article 239AA of the Constitution, it has legislative and executive powers in relation to all entries appearing in List II and List III of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. The AAP government has stated that the Constitution has distributed legislative powers between the Union of India in List I and powers in List II to the State. Powers in List III are concurrent. In the case of Delhi, the subject matter to Police, Law and Order, and Land in List II is reserved to the Union of India unlike in other states.

“These matters raise issues relating to the federal structure of the Constitution under which the Centre and the states have plenary powers within their respective spheres. It is the contention of NCT Delhi that the Union of India is encroaching on its powers in exercising executive power,” the suit states.

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