On 30.11.2017, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the Union of India continued with his arguments before the Constitutional Bench hearing the case pertaining to the Special Status of Delhi.  In the last hearing on 29.11.2017, Mr. Maninder Singh identified the constitutional sources which made the President the ultimate authority of the NCT of Delhi. Today Mr. Singh focused on several factual instances to argue that the Delhi government deliberately acted exclusively to deny the Lieutenant Governor any role in the governance of Delhi.

Mr. Singh cited wrong doing on part of the Delhi government when they filled up ‘promotional posts’ by employing new people and without consulting LG. He cited an order dated 29.04.2015, when the Chief Minister allegedly usurped the powers of the LG by asking officials ‘not to bother the office of the LG’. He argued that this was in violation of the scheme of Art 239AA. He also pointed to  order dated 7.8.15 under which the Delhi Government gave financial benefits to DANICS officers, though the same was wholly within the powers of the Centre. Another instance of transgression was creating a separate police force by the GNCTD when ‘police’ was a subject falling under the vires of the Union.

Mr. Singh also presented minutes of a meeting where the LG had met with the Chief Minister before taking decisions on various issues. He added that the LG had made every effort to keep the CM and the Council of Ministers apprised of all matters before making the necessary decisions. He alleged that despite the LG being the head of NCT, he had always been kept in the dark. He cited other instances to point out that the actions of the Delhi Government were in variance with the constitutional requirement of taking LG’s approval.

Next, Snr. Adv. Siddharth Luthra started arguments for Respondent No 1 – an officer in the Transport Department against whom a Commission of Enquiry was ordered by the Delhi Government. He began by arguing that the ratio of Ram Jawaya Kapoor v Punjab, that legislative-executive power was co-extensive, was inapplicable in this case owing to the special constitutional scheme of NCT of Delhi. On the question of the LG being the superior authority for Delhi, the CJI Dipak Misra clarified that the LG could only express a ‘difference of opinion’ with the Chief Minister but could not declare the enquiry order as ultra vires (outside his legal authority). The hearings are scheduled to resume on 5.12.2017.

(This report relies on contributions from Mr. Ayush Puri)

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