SC to hear plea on Delhi government’s powers
New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) The Supreme Court will hear on Monday a Delhi government plea that its dispute with the Centre on its interference in the administration of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT) can only be decided by the apex court and not by the high court.
An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur agreed to hear the matter on Monday as senior counsel K.K. Venugopal and Indira Jaisinh told the court that only the top court can decide the row under Article 131 of the Constitution.
The counsel on Friday sought an early hearing of the plea pending before the court.
Article 131 says, subject to the provisions of the Constitution, that the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction in any dispute between the central government and one or more states.
Referring to the “stifling” of the functioning of the Delhi government by the Lt. Governor who the plea said overrules even decisions taken by the cabinet (of Delhi government), counsel Venugopal said the question was whether the central government can take over all powers of the NCT.
The Delhi government moved the apex court contending that the matter can’t be decided by the Delhi High Court.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government wants the apex court to interpret Article 239A, the special provision with respect to Delhi, which is a state but not a full-fledged state.
His government wants an urgent hearing of its plea as the high court has already reserved its verdict on a number of issues of conflict between the AAP government and the Centre, including over the Anti-Corruption Branch.
The Delhi government has said that it raised the issue of jurisdiction even before the high court when some contentious issues were clubbed together and were heard. The high court has reserved the verdict.
The dispute over how much powers the Delhi government wields and how much have to be conceded to the central government has plagued the Kejriwal government since it took power in February 2015.
Delhi Police, for instance, reports to Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung, a representative of the central government, and not to Kejriwal.
The recurring disputes have led to ugly public spats, with Aam Aadmi Party leader Kejriwal making frequent accusations against Jung as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi.