Lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung said on Thursday the high court’s ruling that he was the “administrative head” of Delhi was neither a victory for him nor a defeat for chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Earlier in the day, the court held that the L-G was the administrative head of the National Capital Territory and that the AAP government’s contention that he was bound to act on the advice of the Council of Ministers was “without substance”.
The decision is a huge setback to the AAP government that wants complete control of the city and has repeatedly blamed the L-G of trying to rule by proxy and bypassing an elected administration.
Jung, addressing a rare press conference, said a number of decisions, including Delhi government’s directions to power regulator DERC, appointment of government representatives to BSES board and certain orders relating to tax, will have to be “corrected” as they did not have his concurrence.
Jung, who had a long running battle with the AAP government on a host of jurisdictional issues, said he always wanted to protect the provisions of the Constitution and did not agree to the AAP government’s decisions when he found they were at variance with the laid down norms.
“It is not a victory of anyone. It is not a win for Najeeb Jung and loss for Arvind Kejriwal. The court order is a kind of clarification that incorrect things will have to be corrected,” he said.
Jung, who has been targeted by the Kejriwal government over his decisions, said: “My DNA is such that I don’t get affected by abusive language.”
Jung said the verdict clarified that matters related to services will have to be handled by the LG and that the Centre’s concurrence was not necessary on certain issues and he can take calls on them.
Court setback for AAP
In a verdict seen as a setback to the AAP government, a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath dismissed its plea challenging the Centre’s May 21, 2015, notification giving absolute powers to L-G in appointing bureaucrats in the national capital.
The court also quashed several notifications issued by Kejriwal after returning to power last year, saying they were illegal as they were issued without concurrence of LG.
The bench, in its 194-page judgement, said the AAP Government’s contention that the LG is bound to act on the aid and advice of Council of Ministers cannot be accepted.
Since coming to power two years ago, the AAP government and L-G have repeatedly clashed over appointment of officials, clearance of files and controlling the police.
The AAP says the L-G, who reports to the Union home ministry, works at the behest of the Centre while Jung alleges the city government disregards established protocols and constitutional mechanism.
The power struggle is rooted in Delhi’s unique position as a union territory functioning as the Capital, with the state government having no say over important departments and agencies.
(With PTI inputs)