The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to consider Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government’s plea to urgently set up a five-judge Constitution bench to hear its appeal challenging the Delhi High Court order, which had held the Lieutenant Governor as the administrative head of the National Capital Territory (NCT). “We will post it and consider setting up the Constitution bench,” a two-judge bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said, as senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, representing the Delhi government, mentioned the matter before the bench.
A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court had on February 15 referred the AAP government’s plea challenging the High Court verdict to a Constitution bench, saying it involved important questions of law. It is the CJI’s prerogative to set up the Constitution bench.
On Tuesday, while assuring Subramaniam that it will consider setting up the bench, the apex court also said “this is a very difficult and complicated problem, however, we will do it”.
The Delhi High Court had on August 4, 2016, ruled that the L-G was the administrative head of the NCT, and that he was not bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. In an affidavit filed in the matter, the Delhi government claimed that the High Court’s view was contrary to the democratic spirit and basic structure of the Constitution, and that it was also contrary to the plain and conscious legislative scheme.