The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear on September 9 a batch of six appeals filed by Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government, challenging Delhi High Court verdict that the Lieutenant Governor is the administrative head of the national capital.
“Let them come up for hearing on Friday,” a bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice D Y Chandrachud said when senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for Delhi government, sought an urgent hearing of these petitions. “A piquant situation has emerged in Delhi due to the Delhi High Court’s August 4 judgement which had held that all decisions of the elected government have to get prior approval of the Lt Governor,” Subramaniam said.
On September 2, the Delhi government had informed Supreme Court that it has filed six different pleas challenging the Delhi HC order and withdrew its civil suit on declaring the national capital as a full State.
The court had allowed the AAP government to withdraw the civil suit and given the liberty to raise the issues raised in it in the Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) it has filed. The apex court had last month asked the AAP government whether it would file an appeal against the HC order holding Delhi as a Union Territory with LG as its administrative head and, if yes, by when.
It had said the Delhi government needed to file the SLP and the civil suit would become “infructuous”. Centre had vehemently opposed the government’s plea, saying that it cannot pursue parallel recourse for the same relief.
Earlier, the high court had held that Delhi will continue to remain a Union territory under the Constitution with the LG as its administrative head.
The High Court had in its August 4 verdict said that the special constitutional provision Article 239AA dealing with Delhi does not “dilute” the effect of Article 239 which relates to Union Territory and hence, concurrence of the LG in administrative issues was “mandatory”.
It did not accept AAP government’s contention that LG was bound to act only on the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers with regard to making of laws by the Legislative Assembly under the Article 239AA and termed it as “without substance”.
“On a reading of Article 239 and Article 239AA of the Constitution together with the provisions of the GNCT of Delhi Act, 1991 and Transaction of Business of the Government of NCT of Delhi Rules, 1993, it becomes manifest that Delhi continues to be Union Territory even after Constitution (69th Amendment) Act, 1991 inserting Article 239AA making special provisions with respect to Delhi,” the HC had said.
The HC, 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.