Janta Real Boss Of Delhi, SC Rules In Favour Of Kejriwal Government
New Delhi : Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday hailed the Supreme Court ruling in favour of the Delhi government that the Lt Governor is bound to act on the aid and advice by the Council of Ministers.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has been engaged in a dragging legal battle with the Lt Governor seeking better and free administrative and governing powers.
"A big victory for the people of Delhi... a big victory for democracy," Kejriwal tweeted.
Calling the ruling a "landmark judgement", Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that from now on the city government would run smoothly.
"Now Delhi government will not have to send their files to LG for approval, now work will not be stalled. This is a big win for the people of Delhi.
"Powers are restored back to Delhi. This verdict stands against the whimsicality of the LG. I thank the Supreme Court -- it's a big win for democracy," Sisodia said.
Kejriwal along with his deputy and other ministers were on sit-in protest at Lt Governor Anil Baijal' residence from June 11 to 19, seeking action against officials they said were on strike and approval for the city government's ration scheme.
The AAP government approached the high court in August 2016 alleging obstruction in its functioning by the Lt Governor. The high court, however, ruled in favour of the Lt Governor, calling him the "administrator of Delhi".
The city government then approached the apex court.
A Supreme Court Constitution Bench on Wednesday unanimously ruled in favour of the Arvind Kejriwal government saying that the real powers of governance of Delhi rests with the elected representatives.
The apex court said the Lieutenant Governor (LG) was bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Minister in all the areas except land, police and law and order.
Speaking for Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that the LG was not vested with any independent decision-making powers and cannot act in a mechanical manner.
It further ruled that in case of difference of opinion with the Council of Ministers, the LG has to refer the matter to the President, whose decision then would be binding.
The court further stated that the decisions of the Council of Ministers has to be communicated to the LG but that does not mean that the Council of Ministers requires his concurrence.
The court said that the provision that the LG can refer "any matter" under Article 239 to the President does not mean every matter.
Chief Justice Misra said that the executive powers of the Delhi government were co-extensive with its legislative powers.
The top court further said that Delhi can legislate on any issue that falls in the State list or the Concurrent list except for three areas of land, police, law and order.
Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan pronounced separate but concurring judgements.