The government of Delhi registered a big win in the Supreme Court (SC). The clash between the L-G (Lieutenant Governor) and the CM (Chief Minister) of Delhi bolstered over who would have the administrative power. However, the High Court passed verdict in a favour of L-G formerly. Yet, the Delhi government challenged it again in the Apex Court of India.
It’s better to name the conflict as a battle between the NCT of Delhi and Union of India. The national capital is administered under the legislation specifically scripted for a Union Territory. The AAP-led government raised it voice for assigning the “special status” to the national capital.
Let’s put it simply. The union capital (Delhi) has two constitutional authorities-the CM and the L-G. The former entity is the head of the council of ministers whereas the latter is an appointee of the central government.
The dispute was sparked over the constitutional ambiguity. The elected members found themselves helpless in executing some administrative functions that are in the interest of the democracy. The role of the L-G in India is more than a titular head. It implies that he has a right to act upon the aid and advice of the elected government. In this case, the elected government is of AAP. Therefore, he has to act upon its aid and advice. But, he was not governing in compliance with the elected members of the legislative assembly. Thereby, the administrative tasks hampered. That’s why the conflict raised.
In the nutshell, there were Article 239AA (3) (a), and Article 239AA(4) as a core of the conflict. The former constitution directs that the legislative assembly shall have a power to constitute laws with respect to the matters stated in the State of List or in the concurrent list. It excludes the matters with respect to the entries 1,2, 18 of that list.
The law explicitly explains that the L-G shall take aid and advice of the ten percent of the legislative assembly, including the CM. The legislative assembly shall have a right to make laws. The L-G can escalate any matter to the president, if there springs any difference in the opinion of both parties. He would act according to the decision of the president. But, what if that decision remains pending? The Delhi government requires a specification of the timeline for that decision. If, in any case, the decision does not come, it would be L-G’s competency.
The SC has reprimanded the L-G over demarcation of the democracy. It clearly stated that both constitutional authorities should work in its interest. The bench of 5-judge said, both representatives shall have to work under the principles of collective responsibility and accountability. The L-G shall be informed and if needed, he shall be considered for the aid and advice in any matter. But, there shall be no need to seek his concurrence.
All in all, the SC’s judgment demonstrated the win of democracy. It’s a fundamental feature of the Indian constitution. Therefore, both representatives would have to work co-extensively for strengthening the democracy.