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Centre may seek review of SC verdict on Delhi, says not a victory for AAP

The Centre, however, admitted that the Delhi L-G will not be able to exercise the power of referring the state government’s decisions to the President “in a routine manner” following the Supreme Court’s judgement.

delhi Updated: Jul 04, 2018 23:18 IST
Jatin Gandhi
Jatin Gandhi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
AAP,Centre AAP tussle,Supreme Court
Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. The Supreme Court held that the L-G does not have independent decision-making powers, and is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.(PTI File Photo)

The Centre on Wednesday contested the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) claims of victory following the Supreme Court judgment on Delhi’s status, with a senior government functionary stating that the top court had merely reiterated the special status of Delhi and the fact that the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) was not like governors of other states but has special powers.

An official dealing with the matter said the government could approach the SC for a review of the decision but the final call would be taken by the home ministry to whom the L-G reports.

“They (the AAP government) said Delhi is a state like other states and the governor is like other governors. This (contention) has been rejected,” the functionary said on condition of anonymity.

Wednesday’s judgment upheld “Delhi’s special status as a territory and that it is not a state in the conventional sense,” he said. “The L-G still has the right to reserve decisions (taken by the Delhi government) for consideration by the President,” he added.

The Centre, however, admitted that the L-G will not be able to exercise the power of referring the state government’s decisions to the President “in a routine manner” following the judgment. The L-G will also have to record the reasons for referring a government decision to the President, the functionary added.

Law and order, policing and land still will remain outside the purview of the Delhi government.

Hours after the judgment, Home minister Rajnath Singh said the Centre will study the judgment and then react. A second official connected with the matter said the government is yet to take a call on whether it will seek a review. “The MHA (home ministry) has to take a call on whether to approach the court against the decision,” this person said. “Certain paragraphs do lend themselves to a review.”

According to the second official, the Constitution bench, headed by the Chief Justice had interpreted Article 239 AA which deals with the National Capital Territory and was added through an amendment in 1991, this “has to be read with the General Clauses Act which defines a union territory with or without a legislature” .

The government functionary said the court on Wednesday had also said that the nine petitions filed before it, seven by the AAP government and two others by the L-G, will be dealt with by regular benches. “The SC has only given the constitutional interpretation of Article 239 AA,” he added.

First Published: Jul 04, 2018 22:35 IST