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LG Must Work Harmoniously With Delhi's Elected Govt, Says SC, Rules Out Statehood

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| July 4 , 2018 , 13:31 IST

The Supreme Court on Wednesday pronounced its verdict on the long-running tussle between the Centre and Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, ruling that the Lieutenant Governor cannot act as an obstructionist for the elected government. The apex court also ruled out statehood for the national capital. 

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said, "The LG must work harmoniously with the state, the LG and council of ministers have to be constantly aligned," and that the LG is bound by the aid and advice of the elected government in Delhi. 

"The relationship between Centre and State Govt should be healthy," said the CJI. 

“The L-G cannot act as an obstructionist. The concurrence of the L-G in all matters is not necessary,” CJI Misra said.

The bench also ruled out 'full statehood' for Delhi, stating that the elected government can make rules on all subjects in the concurrent list, and subjects in the state list, except for 3, namely law, police and public order.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal won the Delhi elections with a massive victory but has been facing difficulties with both the current and previous Delhi Lieutenant Governors.  

A five-judge bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan delivered the verdict on who should have a major say in governing the National Capital Territory.  

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The AAP government has accused the LG and other officials deliberately obstructing programmes put forth by the government for Delhi. LG Baijal, while rejecting proposals of the AAP government such as the home delivery schemes, has stated that the proposals do not meet criterions.  

Most recently, CM Kejriwal, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Delhi Health Minister Satyender Jain and other AAP leaders staged a protest outside the home-office of Delhi LG Anil Baijal, alleging that IAS officers were on 'strike'.

The IAS officers, while denying that they are on strike, have demanded an apology from CM Kejriwal after the alleged assault by AAP MLAs on chief secretary Anshu Prakash at the residence of the CM earlier this year.

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Senior advocates Gopal Subramanium, Rajeev Dhavan and Indira Jaising are appearing on behalf of AAP, seeking interpretation of Article 239AA of the Constitution, which created a state in Delhi but gave major say in governance to the Lieutenant General.

“If the LG is not bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers, there can be no question of council of ministers being collectively responsible to the legislative assembly or citizens of Delhi as they have no control over the process of government decision making,” the AAP government had said.

Additional solicitor general Maninder Singh appearing on behalf of the Centre, said that provisions of Article 239AA were clear and had no ambiguity, categorically stating that in a difference of opinion, the LG's view would prevail.