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Delhi is unique, not a state, Centre tells Supreme Court

Delhi is not a state and the constitution does not vest any exclusive power on the elected government of National Capital Territory, Centre told the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

delhi Updated: Nov 22, 2017 12:10 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times
AAP,L-G,Arvind Kejriwal
Opening its arguments before a five-judge Constitution Bench, additional solicitor general Maninder Singh rejected Arvind Kejriwal government’s charge that the Lieutenant Governor was acting on his own and sitting on files.(PTI)

Delhi is not a state and the constitution does not vest any exclusive power on the elected government of National Capital Territory, Centre told the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Opening its arguments before a five-judge Constitution Bench, additional solicitor general Maninder Singh rejected Arvind Kejriwal government’s charge that the Lieutenant Governor was acting on his own and sitting on files.

Singh submitted in the last three years only three were referred to the President due to difference of opinion. The rest were disposed of at the secretariat level, the law officer told the five-judge bench headed by Chief justice Dipak Misra.

The Constitution bench is hearing AAP government’s appeal against the Delhi High Court verdict that gave LG the primacy in administering the Capital.

“For any Centrally-administered territory and especially Delhi in respect of its unique position responsibility is on the shoulders of the Union Government,” the ASG told the bench.

Singh said Constitution clearly defines both Union Territory and State. “If UT had to be read as state, then it would expressly said so,” the law officer agued, contending constitution framers never intended to give confer full statehood to Delhi.

He countered the AAP government’s stand that the GST bill had put the UT on equal footing as a State. “Unless there is a specific reference, we cannot read that into the entirety of the Constitution,” Singh submitted, asking the court not to enable through interpretation what Parliament did not intend to.

In the case of Delhi, he said, the executive power is vested in the President. “For any authority to exercise a power it needs to be vested it that authority. If I need money to spend then that money has to first come to my pocket,” Singh explained.

He refuted AAP government’s allegations that LG sits over every administrative file. “It is alleged that so many meetings are held by LG, but we (AAP government representatives) are not invited. All meetings held in Delhi, Chief Minister or Ministers of the government are part of it,” he said and accused the Kejriwal administration of demanding “uncontrolled, vertically divided executive powers.”

Before Singh began with his counter, Delhi Government counsel, senior advocate Shekhar Naphade summed up the arguments. He said LG has no role to play and has to act as per the

aid and advice of the council of ministers. In case of differences, LG was authorized to refer the matter to the PREsident.

First Published: Nov 21, 2017 23:53 IST