SC to hear together AAP govt’s civil suit, appeal on statehood

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 05, 2016 19:25 IST
The SC will hear together AAP government’s civil suit and appeal on statehood of Delhi on August 29. (Sonu Mehta / HT Photo )

The Supreme Court will hear together AAP Government’s civil suit seeking a declaration that Delhi is a state and its petition challenging the high court order, which a day earlier held that the Lieutenant Governor is capital’s administrative head.

A bench of justices AK Sikri and NV Ramana posted the suit’s hearing to August 29 after Delhi Government counsel, senior advocate Indira Jaising said the appeal against the HC verdict will be filed within a week.

The two petitions will be heard together to avoid duplicity of proceedings. The bench told Jaising if the HC has already answered the questions raised in AAP government’s suit, then the petition can be disposed. “In that case we will only hear your appeal against the HC judgement,” the bench said.

“You have to challenge the order of the Delhi high court. Whether the HC has decided the issue rightly or wrongly would be decided by the SC in a Special Leave Petition (SLP). What is the use of this suit now? What is the point in duplicating the proceedings?,” it said.

But Jaising insisted the suit was different from the petition. She said the court has to adjudicate the proposition that it is legally permissible for Delhi government to move the top court directly for the resolution of its conflict with the Centre. The Constitution permits direct filing of civil suits in cases of dispute between two states or Centre and state.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, both representing the Centre, vehemently opposed the plea of Delhi government saying that they cannot pursue two cases together.

Both contended that Delhi government chose to approach the HC for a ruling on who is the administrative head of Delhi. “Once they have chosen a platform how can they proceed with parallel proceedings. They should file an appeal and argue that,” Rohatgi said.

The HC had declared on Thursday that Delhi is a Union Territory under the Constitution with the L-G as its administrative head.

It rejected Delhi government’s contention that the special constitutional provision Article 239AA dealing with the Capital does not “dilute” the effect of Article 239 which relates to a Union Territory and hence. Concurrence of the L-G in administrative issues is “mandatory”, the bench headed by chief justice G Rohini had said. AAP government’s plea that L-G is bound to act only on the aid and advice of his chief minister and his council of ministers too was rejected.

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