The basic structure of the Constitution to give powers to the Union Territory cannot be diluted.
New Delhi: Full autonomy in the administration and decision making process was needed to fulfill the aspirations of the people and the democratically elected government, argued senior counsel Gopal Subramanium in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The counsel made this submission before a five judge Constitution Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Kanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, hearing the appeals relating to the powers of Delhi government as against the lieutenant-governor.
Mr Subramanium said that a harmonious interpretation of Article 239AA was needed to fulfill constitutional mandate for a democratic elected government in Delhi. The L-G must exercise his functions with the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, which has a collective responsibility and accountability to the people.
He said the Constitution need not provide executive powers separately, as it was co-extensive with the powers of the Council of Ministers, which must be read into the provision. He argued that the area of discretion vested with the L-G is very limited and whenever there is a difference of opinion, he can only refer it to the President for final decision in the matter. The issues raised here related to the federal structure of the Constitution under which the Centre and the States have plenary powers within their respective spheres.
The counsel said, “To say that the Council of Ministers cannot take any independent decision is not the correct way of interpreting the Constitution. The basic structure of the Constitution to give powers to the Union Territory cannot be diluted.”