The specific issues that the court is expected to delve into include the validity of appointments
The Supreme Court emphasized on 'constitutional morality' and respect for a democratic government
NEW DELHI :
: The Supreme Court is likely to rule on Thursday on several contentious issues regarding the extent of authority of the Delhi government versus that of the lieutenant governor (L-G) on administrative matters.
The specific issues that the court is expected to delve into include the validity of appointments, transfer postings to various services, inquiry orders etc by the Delhi government. The Delhi government and the L-G have had several run-ins over bureaucratic appointments, security issues and governance.
Although the broad contours had been outlined by the apex court under its July ruling of 2018 where it held that the council of ministers had supremacy over the L-G in governance, except in matters of public order, police and land, which fell under the domain of the L-G’s executive power, it had not gone into specific issues.
A five-judge bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan had ruled on 4 July that there was no room for absolutism and anarchy in the Constitution and a balance must be struck to achieve the goals of “cooperative federalism" by working harmoniously.
The Supreme Court emphasized on “constitutional morality" and respect for a democratic government. It held that with matters other than public order, police and land the Delhi L-G did not hold any independent authority in governance and was bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers who represent the popular will of the people.
The council of ministers are only under an obligation to “inform" the L-G of their decision and “no concurrence is mandated", the court said.
The judgement further stated that in case of a difference of opinion, an effort should be made by the L-G and the minister(s)to resolve it by mutual discussion. If this process does not yield a satisfactory result, the Delhi L-G may refer the dispute to the President. However, such difference must not be over trivial issues and should not aim at obstructing Delhi governance.
The court had also observed that the NCT of Delhi’s position under the Indian Constitution was sui generis, having its own assembly and an administrator in the form of a L-G, but “falls short of the trappings of full statehood".