In what is seen as a big blow to the Arvind Kejriwal government, the Delhi High Court on August 4 told the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that the LG is the administrative head of National Capital Territory and he is not required to act on the advice of the Delhi cabinet.
The decision comes following a long tussle between the Delhi chief minister and LG Najeeb Jung over who has the final say in the administration of Delhi. Kejriwal has also repeatedly accused the Narendra Modi-led Centre of interfering in Delhi’s affairs using the office of the L-G. It has also demanded control of the Delhi Police, which currently comes under the Home Ministry, and complete statehood for Delhi.
Following the HC’s decision, the Delhi government has said it would now appeal in the Supreme Court.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath dismissed the AAP government’s plea challenging the Centre’s May 21, 2015, notification giving absolute powers to LG in appointing bureaucrats in the national capital.
Kejriwal has been going against the reading of Constitutional provisions that make the LG the administrative head of a Union Territory.
The court also quashed several notifications issued by Kejriwal after returning to power last year, saying they were illegal as they were issued without concurrence of LG.
The bench, in its 194-page judgement, said the AAP Government’s contention that the LG is bound to act on the aid and advice of Council of Ministers was “without substance and cannot be accepted”.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain said the Delhi High Court judgment is in line with constitutional provisions, and that the L-G is the Chief Executive Officer of Delhi.
The AAP had filed a total of nine petitions in the Delhi HC, contending that the power to make appointments and issue instructions did not rest with the LG, but with the Delhi CM. The petitions had risen out of a series of clashes between LG Najeeb Jung and the Delhi government. The Delhi government had argued that in a democratic set up there cannot be two reporting authorities. The Centre however had contended that as a Union Territory, Delhi was not a full-fledged state, and that control over its government rests in the hands of the Union Home Ministry.