Arguments Summary Day 6: November 15, 2017

The hearings continued before the five-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices A.M. KhanwilkarD.Y. ChandrachudA.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan. Today's arguments focussed on the discretionary powers of the LG in the context of his administrative functions.

Mr Rajeev Dhavan contended that it is imperative for the Court to examine the principle of cooperative federalismas it is intrinsic to India's constitutional framework. He argued that non-application of this principle implicitly defeats the federal spirit of the Constitution. Referencing his earlier arguments on the distinction between devolution of authority by statute (in the case of Pondicherry) and constitutionally vested authority, (like in the case of the NCT), he argued that the legislation passed by the Delhi Administration cannot be overridden by a veto from the Lt. Governor, but requires superseding action from the Union Parliament.

Additionally, Dhavan submitted that the term ‘any’ used in the proviso to Article 239AA(c) could not practically be interpreted to include every single matter that falls under the administration of the NCT. It would impede administrative efficiency to the extent of obstructing any real legal implementation if the LG and Council of Ministers disagree on most ideological/legal positions.

The Chief Justice remarked in closing, that such an interpretation would strip the LG of any real discretionary authority. This would have the effect of rendering the proviso vacuous.

The matter will be heard next on 16.11.2017.

(The post relies on contributions from Mr. Ayush Puri)