On 4th July 2018, a five-judge Bench unanimously held that the Chief Minister, and not the Lieutenant Governor, is the executive head of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi. Thereby, the SC held that the LG is bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers on all matters where the Delhi Assembly has to the power to make laws. 

 

The Bench comprising CJI Dipak Misra and Justices AJ Sikri, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and AM Khanwilkar produced 3 seperate concurring opinions:

 

Below are 5 must reads:

  1. For an introduction to the issue, see this piece in The Hindu where Manish Sisodia, Sandeep Dikshit and Omesh Saigal answer the question, ‘Should Delhi be given statehood?
  2. For a historical take, see Vineeth Krishna’s ‘Framers of India’s Constitution were divided on representative government for Delhi’ in The Caravan. He describes disagreements between members of the Constituent Assembly regarding the framing of Delhi’s administrative and political structure.
  3. For an introduction to the legal arguments, read Gautam Bhatia’s ‘Working a Democratic Constitution’ in Bloomberg Quint.
  4. For a political take, see The Hindu’s ‘The Democratic mandate in Delhi’ by Sanjay Hegde. In this opinion piece published in The Hindu, he hails the 4th July judgment as a victory. He describes the conflict as a ‘cautionary tale’, in which democratically elected officials were nearly denied the power to administer democratically.
  5. For a more in-depth legal analysis, read Alok Prasanna Kumar’s essay in Economic & Political Weekly, ‘Statehood for Delhi – A Legitimate Demand’. He argues that the constitutional article, Art. 239AA, responsible for the Special Status of Delhi establishes an inherently unworkable division of power.

Note: for '5.', subscription to EPW required