In major verdict, SC says Delhi LG does not have independent powers

CM Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi LG Anil Baijal
CM Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi LG Anil Baijal
CM Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi LG Anil Baijal

NEW DELHI: New Delhi in a landmark verdict on the power tussle between the Delhi government and the Centre, the Supreme Court today held that Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal does not have independent decision making powers, and is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.
The judgment pronounced in the court by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who was heading a five judge Constitution bench, also held that the LG cannot act as an “obstructionist”. Two other judges, Justices A K Sikri and A M Khanwilkar, concurred with the verdict. It said all decisions of the Council of Ministers must be communicated to the LG but that does not mean his concurrence is required.
“There is no room for absolutism and there is no room for anarchism also,” the court ruled. The decision is a major victory for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP government which has been in a constant tug of war with LG Anil Baijal over the power wielded by the two branches of the executive. The Supreme Court said that except for three issues, including land and law and order, Delhi government has the power to legislate and govern on other issues.

It was ruling on a batch of appeals filed by Kejriwal’s government challenging the Delhi High Court’s order holding the LG as the administrative head of the national capital. Virtually disagreeing with the High Court order, the Supreme Court said the LG should not act in a mechanical manner and stall the decisions of the Council of Ministers.
It said the LG has not been entrusted with independent powers and he can refer issues on difference of opinion to the president only in exceptional matters and not as a general rule. The LG needs to work harmoniously with the Council of Ministers and an attempt should be made to settle the difference of opinion with discussions, the apex court said. PTI

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