Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Democracy in Delhi

Supreme Court verdict in the case of elected government versus Lieutenant Governor is a triumph of democracy in Delhi. It is a victory for AAP. It is a defeat for BJP in general, Narendra Modi in particular. Lieutenant Governors had stalled the work of Delhi government. First it was Najeeb Jung. Then it was Anil Baijal.

The judgment was given by a five-judge Constitution bench comprising CJI Dipak Misra, Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan. It said aid and advice under Article 239AA means that LG is bound by the aid and advice of council of ministers of elected Delhi government. LG cannot act as an obstructionist to policy decisions taken by AAP government.

The constitution mandates the council of minister headed by Delhi chief minister to communicate all decisions to LG but they do not require LG’s concurrence. LG can only refer it to President if he has difference of opinion but he cannot sit on it, it said.

LG being the administrative head of Delhi must be informed of all executive power but he cannot stall all the decision of council of ministers who have been elected to address aims and aspirations of electorate. Both LG and the CM are constitutional functionaries who must work harmoniously with mutual respect and none of them should feel superior to the other. Delhi’s council of ministers headed by CM must communicate all decisions taken by it to the LG, but it does not mean LG’s concurrence is required on every issue.

Delhi enjoys a unique position under Constitution and neither LG nor the CM heading the council of ministers should consider themselves bigger than the other. They must work harmoniously. LG should not act in a mechanical manner to refer all decisions of the council of ministers to the President citing difference of opinion. Except for the three issues including land and law and order over which Centre had exclusive power, Delhi government must be allowed to legislate and govern other issues and LG cannot stall decisions mechanically. LG has no independent decision-making power and cannot behave as an obstructionist when the constitution gives primacy to representative of government.

Arvind Kejriwal tweeted “A big victory for the people of Delhi…a big victory for democracy…”

Soli Sorabjee welcomed the decision.

This verdict is second major victory for AAP. First was when Delhi High Court struck down Election Commission’s decision to disqualify 20 AAP MLAs because they were once parliamentary secretaries.

BJP is clutching at straws and selectively quoted from verdict regarding anarchy and Delhi not being a state.

It seems Congress is with BJP against AAP. For some time there was talk of AAP and Congress alliance against BJP in Delhi, Punjab and Haryana. That did not happen. Sheila Dikshit started to make statements against AAP. TMC, TDP, JD(S) and CPI(M) are with AAP.

This verdict has implications for Kiran Bedi who is Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry and has fights with Congress government there.

Updated: July 4, 2018 — 7:36 pm

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