Opening its arguments in the case where it has challenged the Delhi High Court verdict giving all administrative powers to the Lieutenant Governor, the AAP government said a “democratically elected government can’t be subservient to the L-G.”
“It is inconceivable that in a cabinet form of government, you have a titular head who is not accountable but interposes himself on every decision,” senior advocate Gopal Subramanium told a bench of Justice AK Sikri and justice RK Agrawal.
A power tussle between the Delhi government and the Centre ensued soon after AAP came in power. The confrontation subsided after the high court last year declared the L-G as Delhi’s administrative head and said he was not bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers.
The Delhi government has filed several petitions challenging the verdict.
Telling the court that the L-G can always remand a decision by the council of ministers for reconsideration, Subramaniam said the question before the court was “whether, in the exercise of his discretion, he can nullify a decision” taken by the council of ministers.
Referring to the constitutional provisions, Subramaniam asked the top court to lay down the law on whether the L-G can interpose on every decision of a council of ministers of a democratically elected government.
The senior counsel pointed to the constitutional practice followed in other states and at the Centre. He said the president or governors were bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers. He wondered if an L-G in Delhi could have more powers than those exercised by the governors.
“You can have special provisions for Delhi. You can’t have special form of cabinet government where one council of ministers sits over the decisions of another council of ministers,” he argued , assailing the HC judgement, which he said was a step backward from the top court’s position.