May consider fixing time for Delhi LG to clear files, indicates SC

AAP govt needs LG ‘approval’ to govern Delhi SC

The observation came on a petition by the AAP government against a court verdict that held the Lieutenant Governor was the national capital's boss.

Pushing for more power for the state government in areas of public order and land, he said, "I am not questioning parliamentary supremacy but an elected government can not be sans power". He argued that Article 239AA could not be used by the L-G to frustrate the constitutional mandate for an elected government in Delhi. "That is completely inconceivable", senior counsel Gopal Subramanium representing the Delhi government argued before a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

As Subramanium sought to blame Lt. Governor for creating hurdles in the functioning of Delhi government, Justice Chandrachud said that every government has to function within the parameters of the constitution and the Article 239AA defines the powers of Delhi government and Union Territory.

Considering the constant run-ins between the LG and the Chief Minister, the bench said the proviso given under Article 239AA (69 th Amendment Act of 1991) of the Constitution clarifies that the L-G's decision would prevail in the event of a dispute. There were also some grey areas where the Delhi government had no footprints.




Justice Chandrachud said that LG can not stultify a scheme by sitting over the files instead he is bound to under Article 239AA to refer the matter to President in case of difference of opinion. "The L-G feels he has inherent power to veto".

It had observed that not every dispute between the Centre and a State government could be classified as a "federal dispute".

He said that proviso (4) in Article 239AA can not be used by the LG to frustrate the constitutional mandate of an elected government in Delhi. "It was not a structural addition to the Constitution and has been founded on constitutional values of accountability, transparency and amenity to the rule of law, which need to be considered in this case", he said. The L-G must exercise his functions with the aid and advice of the council of ministers, which has a collective responsibility and accountability to the people. However, the Parliament has overriding powers on both the state and concurrent lists to make laws, it said. "Delhi High Court says the L-G of Union Territory of Delhi has greater power than the President and a state governor".

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