Pointing out that several issues raised in the suit had been adjudicated by the Delhi high court and only an appeal can be preferred, the Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear at this stage a suit
Pointing out that several issues raised in the suit had been adjudicated by the Delhi high court and only an appeal can be preferred, the Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear at this stage a suit filed by the Delhi government for a declaration that the national capital region is a “state” and not a Union Territory.
A bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and N.V. Ramana told senior counsel Indira Jaising and counsel Mohan Katarki that since almost all issues have been decided by the Delhi high court, (on Thursday it held that lieutenant-governor continued to be the administrative head of the national capital and that he was not bound by the aid and advice of the chief minister and his council of ministers), the best course would be to wait for the government to file appeal against the order and hear the suit and the SLP together.
Justice Sikri told the counsel, “Why hear your suit for a declaration of Delhi as a full state when the Delhi high court has already declared it a Union Territory. You better challenge the high court verdict in the Supreme Court first.” When attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi submitted that the suit was not maintainable as Delhi had already availed its remedy by filing a writ petition in the high court, the bench agreed with AG and told the counsel that “you cannot file a writ petition in the high court and a suit on almost similar issues in the apex court resulting in multiple litigations and parallel proceedings.”
Ms Jaising said the primary question they want the apex court to answer is whether the dispute between the AAP government and the Centre was a federal dispute coming under Article 131 of the Constitution. She argued that the HC order was invalid as under Article 131, only the apex court had the jurisdiction to adjudicate disputes between Centre and a state. Justice Sikri asked the counsel to first show that Delhi is a state and not a Union Territory.
Solicitor-general Ranjit Kumar submitted, “The very fact that they want a declaration as a state shows that they are not a state.” Justice Sikri observed, “That question will be decided in the special leave petition.”
On Thursday, the high court had dismissed the Delhi government’s claim that this is a “federal dispute”, saying the political wrangle between the Centre and AAP government is only a tussle over “services” issues which does not attract Article 131 of the Constitution.
The bench, while giving time for the AAP government to challenge the high court order, posted the suit for further hearing on August 29.