On 15.11.2017, hearings continued for the sixth day, before the five-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud, A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.

Mr Rajeev Dhavan contended that it is imperative for the Court to examine the principle of Cooperative Federalism, as it is an inherent aspect of the Constitution of India. He argued that not applying 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 could not practically be interpreted to include ‘every’ single matter that falls under the administration within the NCT. It would retard administrative efficiency to the extent that it could cripple any real legal implementation in Delhi if the LG and Council of Ministers did not agree with one another on most ideological/legal positions.

The Chief Justice remarked in closing, that if the proviso was to be understood in this manner it would strip the LG of any real discretionary authority, seeming to imply that it would render the proviso vacuous.

 

The matter will be heard next on 16.11.2017.

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