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  Metros   Delhi  08 Nov 2017  L-G must be apprised of govt decisions: SC

L-G must be apprised of govt decisions: SC

Published : Nov 8, 2017, 2:32 am IST
Updated : Nov 8, 2017, 2:32 am IST

The CJI also noted that the L-G has power to call for information on “any matter”.

Anil Baijal
 Anil Baijal

New Delhi: It appears prima facie that it should be the duty and obligation of the chief minister of Delhi and his council of ministers to communicate all the decisions to the lieutenant-governor, though every such decision might not warrant concurrence from the lieutenant-governor, the Supreme Court orally observed on Tuesday.

A five judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Kanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan made this tentative observation when senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the Kejriwal government, argued that the lieutenant-governor (L-G) had assumed overriding powers, though he is bound to function with the aid and advice of the council of ministers.

The CJI, quoting the Business Rules, said to the counsel, “Prima facie it appears that once the government takes a decision, it is duty bound to communicate the decision to the L-G even though it might be a remote decision. This is the working situation envisaged by the Parliament, which has plenary powers as far as the Union Territory of Delhi is concerned. This can’t be construed as interference. Every decision might not warrant concurrence, but the decision has to be communicated.”

The CJI also noted that the L-G has power to call for information on “any matter”. 

Justice Chandrachud said to the counsel, “Some matters require prior orders from the L-G. Though the Business Rules provide for immediate approval from the L-G, the decision becomes enforceable the moment the government communicates its decision to the L-G.”

Quoting Article 239 AA (4) of the constitution, the counsel said that if the L-G is the boss in terms of governance and decision-making process, the Parliament in its wisdom would not have provided for a council of ministers headed by a chief minister and who are answerable to the legislative Assembly. He said that this provision was intended to bring the principle of sovereignty in the government and the L-G could not set at naught this principle by his actions.

He said that disputes have arisen on the question whether Delhi government can act in relation to certain issues without the prior approval of the L-G. Several of the orders of Delhi government, such as increasing the salaries of DANICS officers, have been declared null and void by the L-G on the ground that the Delhi government has no power to increase the salaries of its staff. The issues raised here relate to the federal structure of the constitution under which the Centre and the states have plenary powers within their respective spheres. Arguments will continue on Wednesday.

Tags: supreme court, anil baijal, kejriwal government
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi