This verdict is being hailed as a major victory for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, as the court ruled that power in Delhi lay with the elected government.

L-G cant act independently must work with state 5 takeaways from SC verdict
news Politics Wednesday, July 04, 2018 - 12:23

The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, said that the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) of the National Capital Territory has no independent decision-making powers under the Constitution of India, except for matters related to land, police and public order, and must act in harmony with the Council of Ministers.

This verdict is being hailed as a major victory for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, as the court ruled that power in Delhi lay with the elected government.

The five-judge Bench, comprising Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, laid down the powers of the L-G as defined by Article 239 AA of the Constitution.

CJI Dipak Misra, who read out the judgement, said that the L-G cannot act independently and must work with the Council of Ministers. The state must, in turn, inform the L-G of its decisions, but it didn’t need his concurrence.

The apex court also reportedly said neither the CM and nor the LG should consider themselves bigger than the other.

This decision came after a clutch of petitions were filed by the AAP, challenging the Delhi HC which held that the L-G was the administrative head of the national capital.

Here are the main takeaways from the verdict:

  1. The apex court’s ruling has come as a shot in the arm for Arvind Kejriwal, who has for long contended that the L-G was playing an obstructionist role, and was not allowing his government to function freely. Just after AAP came to power, the Centre, led by the BJP, took away certain powers from the state. Since then, the CM and the Centre have locked horns repeatedly, with Kejriwal accusing the L-G of working for the Centre.
  2. In its verdict, the SC observed that Delhi is not a full state and that the role of the L-G here was different from the role of a Governor in other states. Governors exist in states whereas Lieutenant Governors exist only in Delhi, Puducherry and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The other UTs have an administrator. L-Gs enjoy some executive powers, that the Governor doesn’t.
  3. In his verdict, CJI Dipak Misra said "real power lies with the elected government of Delhi." He added that the Cabinet was required to inform the L-G of all its decisions, but it didn’t need his concurrence.
  4. The court referred to Article 239AA of the Constitution to clearly define the powers of the L-G, specifically in Delhi. Priviso 4 of Article 239AA of the Constitution says if there is a “difference of opinion” between the L-G and the Delhi government, the L-G can refer it to the President. The SC in its verdict clarified that this difference of opinion does not mean the L-G can approach the President for each and every issue – but can do so only on issues pertaining to land, police and public order. For other issues, the state government’s decision is final.
  5. The Delhi government can make laws on both the state and concurrent list subjects, the L-G alone can make laws on land, police and public order. Hence, the L-G must act in harmony with the Council of MInisters, and cannot go to the President if the state’s decision is not in concurrence with his views.

The CJI added that both the L-G and the state should serve their Constitutional obligations, as there is “no space for absolutism or anarchy in the Constitution”.

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