The Supreme Court Wednesday held that the concurrence of the Lieutenant Governor was not required for decisions taken by the Delhi Council of Ministers. This is in contrast to the judgment of the Delhi High Court, which had ruled in 2016 that the L-G’s concurrence was a must, and that he was the administrative head of the national capital.
How the two judgments approached some of the issues:
While dealing with Article 239AA, which grants Special Status to Delhi among UTs, HC had said that the position of the L-G was different from governors of states, and that the L-G may act in his discretion with regard to all matters in respect of which he is required to act in his discretion “by or under any law”.
SC held that Delhi cannot be accorded status of a state but added that L-G has no “independent decision-making power” and has to act on the aid and advice of the elected government.
Transaction of business rules
On the Transaction of Business of the Government of NCT of Delhi Rules, 1993, the HC said it was always open to the L-G to “differ with the decision of the Council of Ministers, in which event, he has to follow the procedure as prescribed” under rules.
The Supreme Court said the L-G must work “harmoniously” with the ministers and not seek to “resist them every step of the way”. It said that barring issues of public order, police and land Delhi Assembly had powers to make laws on all other subjects.
The High Court bench had held the appointment of commissions by AAP government to probe the alleged CNG fitness scam and alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association as illegal, saying they were done without the L-G’s concurrence. SC said all contentious issues would be deliberated on by the apex court’s smaller benches, on the basis of the SC verdict.