Downplaying AAP’s victory proclamations over the Supreme Court verdict, former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today said the ruling that the LG is bound by the government’s advice was “not a vindication” for the party as “it has always been so”.
The Supreme Court handed a major victory to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in his bitter power tussle with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, ruling that the LG has no independent power to take decisions and is bound by the elected government’s advice.
“There is no room for absolutism and there is no room for anarchism also,” the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court said in a unanimous ruling pronounced by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. Dikshit, who was the chief minister of Delhi from 1998-2013, said her government may have had differences with the LG, but there was never any “tussle”.
“We may have had differences. When the differences came out, after talking to each other we sorted out those differences,” Dikshit told PTI after the ruling.
Asked it the Supreme Court verdict that the LG is bound by the government’s advice was a vindication for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the senior Congress leader said, “It is not a vindication, it has always been so. We also ran a government for 15 years and whatever the Cabinet decided, the LG used to always agree to that.”
The LG has total control over land and law and order, but beyond that he goes through the advice of the Cabinet, Dikshit said.
“I don’t see why it (the matter) should go to the court. There is a constitutional provision, Article 239 (AA) in the Constitution.. it says the Union territory, it is all clearly laid down then what is the conflict about. If you want to change that then go to Parliament and say that you want these changes,” the three-term chief minister said.
Talking about her experience of working with different LG over the years, she said, “We had four or five different LGs, but did not have confrontation… because our first job was to govern and not have confrontations.” Asked about the AAP demand for full statehood for Delhi, Dikshit said it has to be decided by Parliament.
“But, Delhi being the capital of this country, I have my doubts, we also tried it all three times, but we couldn’t get it either. And I think the reason for that is that because it is the capital city of the country,” she said.
Dikshit asserted that full statehood was not a prerequisite for good governance, saying whatever “tools” are available are good enough for Delhi to get good governance. She hoped that with the verdict the confrontation would end as it was “very important for Delhi”.
The Supreme Court, in its verdict, said that except for three issues — public order, police and land — the Delhi government has the power to legislate and govern on other issues.
The ruling lays down for the first time clear guidelines for the LG’s conduct, and delineates the powers of the two branches of the executive in Delhi, which does not have the status of a full state yet elects its own MLAs and government. The ruling came on a batch of appeals filed by Kejriwal’s government challenging the Delhi High Court’s order holding the LG as the administrative head of the national capital.