National Capital Territory belongs to entire nation, says Centre in top court
The National Capital Territory (NCT) belongs to the entire nation and not just to Delhi, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Wednesday, while defending the Delhi High Court verdict declaring the Lieutenant Governor as the administrative head of the Capital.
Addressing a five-judge bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra additional solicitor general Maninder Singh was critical of the Arvind Kejriwal government for its stand. He was responding to the AAP government’s arguments before the bench.
“I won’t take names. But the head of the local government says he will decide where the police commissioner will sit, where the Republic Day parade will be held,” he said, wondering whether the security of the national capital and interest of the nation can be compromised.
Singh asserted that the “union government is also an elected government.” During the hearing, the bench asked the law officer if “Lieutenant Governor could assume all powers to himself?”.
“The issue is elected government has some executive powers in respect of which they can make laws but they have to work in consultation with Lieutenant Governor,” the bench noted. To this, Singh said the Delhi Government cannot take a stand to say that it will not follow a procedure and take its own decisions.
Delhi was not a state and the Constitution did not vest any exclusive executive powers on it, Singh reiterated. The concept of aid and advice of the council of ministers was alien to L-G’s executive functions.
But the bench appeared to disagree. “Aid and advice has to have some meaning,” the court told the ASG who insisted the Constitution vested the powers of union territories with the union government.
During the hearing, the court expressed its concern over lawyers for the Delhi government speaking in different voices.
“All of you are appearing for one client and then one categorically told that they didn’t subscribe to Indira Jaising’s views,” the bench said, without naming the senior advocate who did not support his colleague’s arguments.
The court also did not even say which argument of Jaising the counsel referred to. It then asked the Delhi government counsel to submit a written note to the bench.