Constitution Bench of SC commences hearing on Delhi-Centre governance row


He added that even when there were differences between the L-G and state government, "the L-G can not be sitting on a file".

Justice Chandrachud said that the President exercises his administrative control over Union Territory through Lt Governor, and if there are specific instances of excesses, then the court can address them. "Article 239AA is unique to Delhi".

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud said that besides raising their grievance, the petitioners could also assist the court in the adjudication of the challenge to the constitutional validity of the demonetisation decision.

Subramanium cited the instances of Lt. Governor holding meeting with the officials without the presence of Ministers concerned and issuing instructions. He argued that Article 239AA could not be used by the L-G to frustrate the constitutional mandate for an elected government in Delhi. In other areas he would act on the aid and advise of the Council of Minister but in the event of difference he would refer the matter to President. On the flip side, given the Constitutional scheme of things, ego if any must be put aside and the Government must work through the Lieutenant-Governor who does prima facie have primacy of power if that is what providing good governance to the residents of the Capital requires.

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The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has roped in senior Congress leader P Chidambaram to fight its case in the Supreme Court against the high court verdict, which had held that the national capital is not a state and the Lieutenant Governor is its administrative head. "Yes, that has to be genuine", the bench said.

The matter was referred to the constitution bench by the bench of Justice Sikri and Justice R.K.Agrawal on February 15.

The high court emphasized the administrative capacity of the L-G, while ruling that Delhi continues to be a union territory under the Transaction of Business Rules despite Article 239 AA of the Constitution making some special provisions with respect to Delhi.

Besides the Centre, Indian Radiological and Imaging Association, the association of radiologists in the country, had moved the apex court challenging the High Court's decision on the issue.