The Centre has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court stating that it should be heard when the apex court decides the matter on the Union Territory (UT) status of Delhi after the AAP government decided to challenge the recent High Court judgment in the capital.
After Delhi government told the Supreme Court that it will challenge within a week the High Court order that Delhi continues to remain a UT under the Constitution with the Lieutenant Governor (LG) as its administrative head, the Ministry of Home Affairs filed the caveat saying that the apex court should also listen to its stand on the issue.
The apex court had last week said it will hear together AAP Government’s civil suit seeking a declaration that the national capital is a state and its petition against the order of the High Court which held that the city is a Union Territory with Lt Governor as its administrative head.
On August 4, Delhi High Court has held that the special constitutional provision Article 239AA dealing with Delhi does not “dilute” the effect of Article 239 which relates to the Union territory and hence, concurrence of the LG in administrative issues is “mandatory”. It had not accepted the AAP government’s contention that the LG is bound to act only on the aid and advice of Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers with regard to making laws by the Legislative Assembly under the Article 239AA and termed it as “without substance”.
Giving primacy to the concurrence of LG in transaction of Legislative business, the High Court said, “It is mandatory under the constitutional scheme to communicate the decision of the Council of Ministers to the LG even in relation to the matters in respect of which power to make laws has been conferred on the Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi under clause (3)(a) of Article 239AA of the Constitution and an order thereon can be issued only where the LG does not take a different view”.
The court held that the AAP government’s order for constituting a Commission of Inquiry to go into the alleged irregularities in the functioning of Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) and CNG fitness scam was “illegal” as the orders were issued “without seeking the views/concurrence” of the LG.
The court, which had rejected almost all the contentions of Delhi government, however, agreed with its submission that the LG will have to act on its aid and advice in appointment of special public prosecutors.