Confusion over status of Delhi high court’s August ruling on L-G-AAP tussle

The Delhi high court’s August 2016 judgment declared the L-G was the administrative head of the national Capital and was not bound by the ‘aid and advice’ of the council of ministers.

delhi Updated: Jul 05, 2018 10:07 IST
Richa Banka
Richa Banka
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Supreme Court,Verdict,Arvind Kejriwal
A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday held that though Delhi cannot be accorded the status of a state, the L-G has no independent decision making power and has to act on the aid and advice of the elected government.(Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

There was a degree of confusion over the Delhi high court’s August 2016 judgment that declared the L-G was the administrative head of the national Capital and was not bound by the ‘aid and advice’ of the council of ministers.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had moved the Supreme Court against the verdict.

A five-judge Constitution bench, in a unanimous verdict, on Wednesday held that though Delhi cannot be accorded the status of a state, the L-G has no independent decision making power and has to act on the aid and advice of the elected government.

The SC verdict, however, did not categorically set aside the HC ruling and said division benches will look into matters over which confrontation had taken place between the AAP government in Delhi and the office of the Lieutenant Governor.

However, legal experts said the HC ruling stands null and void after the SC judgment.

Speaking to HT, senior advocate Vikas Pahwa said, “Obviously a precedent has been set and the Supreme Court has laid the guidelines as to how the state should function. It has said that all the decisions should be taken by the council of ministers and the L-G will just be informed about the same.”

“Now, except for law and order and land, all other policy making decisions lie in the hand of the state government. The major issue has been decided and is binding on the smaller benches of the apex court,” Pahwa said.

Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde also said that the HC’s interpretation of the laws governing the unique Constitutional status of Delhi has been demonstrated to be faulty.“The HC decision has been set aside by this judgment of the Constitution bench. The law declared by the SC is binding on all authorities within the Union of India. A broad design has already been set and smaller benches of the SC are unlikely to deviate from it,” he said.

On August 4, 2016, while deciding a batch of petitions a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and justice Jayant Nath had said that the contention of the Delhi government that the L-G is bound to act only on the aid and advice of the council of ministers in relation to the matters in respect of which the power to make laws has been conferred on the Legislative Assembly is “without substance and cannot be accepted”.

The HC bench had also said that it was mandatory under the constitutional scheme to communicate the decisions of the council of ministers to the L-G even in relation to the matters in respect of which power to make laws has been conferred on the Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi.

First Published: Jul 05, 2018 10:04 IST