New Delhi: The Centre told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that Delhi was not a state and could not exercise executive powers to that effect under the Constitution of India.
It argued that Delhi, which enjoys special status under the law, could not be treated on a par with a full-fledged state with regard to the powers it can exercise and that its role should be restricted to that of municipal governance.
The submissions were made before a Constitution bench comprising five judges as the centre began its arguments on the long-standing tussle between the centre and the state government over the exercise of administrative powers in Delhi.
In earlier hearings, the Delhi government, through its counsel Gopal Subramanium had pushed for more powers for itself in areas of public order and land, urging the court to “interpret the text and values behind the provisions of Article 239AA of the Constitution" and the purpose it serves.
The Delhi government on 31 August 2016 appealed a Delhi high court order declaring the lieutenant governor (LG) of Delhi as the administrative head of the state.
Delhi has a unique position under the Indian Constitution, with its own state assembly and an administrator in the form of an LG. However, issues of law and order, and land fall within the purview of the Union home ministry.
The Delhi high court on 4 August 2016 upheld the powers of the LG in matters of public order, land, police and services, including the power to appoint civil servants. A 1998 notification said that in matters of public order, police and services, the LG of Delhi would consult the chief minister, and in cases otherwise, the reasons would be recorded.
The hearing will continue on Wednesday.