Governance Now Masterminds

AAP vs LG: SC gives more power to Arvind Kejriwal

The supreme court ruled that the LG cannot act independently and must seek the advise of the council of ministers

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Deexa Khanduri | July 4, 2018 | Delhi


#Delhi   #Aam Aadmi Party   #Anshu Prakash   #Anil Baijal   #Arvind Kejriwal   #LG   #AAP   #AAP vs LG   #supreme court  
AAP vs LG: SC gives more power to Arvind Kejriwal
AAP vs LG: SC gives more power to Arvind Kejriwal

Ending the tussle between Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and lieutenant governor Anil Baijal, the supreme court on Wednesday ruled that the LG cannot act independently and must seek the advise of the council of ministers. The SC said that the matters of land, law, and police don’t come under the Delhi government. Apart from these three areas, “Executive powers to be exercised by the elected government. The government of National Capital Territory should be allowed to make laws and lieutenant governor should not mechanically refer the matters to president.”

A five-judge constitution bench headed by chief justice Dipak Misra delivered the verdict on the Delhi government’s appeal challenging the August 2016 high court judgment holding the LG as the administrative head of the capital.

The decision also boosted the morale of the AAP government which is at loggerheads with the bureaucrats and the union government-appointed LG. 
 
Last month, Kejriwal and three of his cabinet ministers held a nine-day protest inside Baijal’s office. They wanted the LG to intervene and end the three-month long strike of bureaucrats. The IAS officers have been on strike since February after Delhi chief secretary Anshu Prakash claimed that he was assaulted by AAP MLA’s at the CM residence. The strike by Kejriwal at the LG office was termed “unconstitutional” by the Delhi HC. 

 
Since the AAP took over the reins of Delhi, it is engaged in an ugly spat with the LG. The AAP has repeatedly highlighted that LG is interfering in its functioning and the party doesn’t have control over many important departments.
 
 
In 2016, Kejriwal wrote to union home minister Rajnath Singh, urging that CM’s consent be taken in appointing officers at the CM’s office. The home ministry has appointed and transferred many officers, including Shakuntala Gamblin, MK Meena, SN Sahai, Dharam Pal, Rajendra Kumar and Vijay Kumar without the consent of the state government. Kejriwal had also requested to appoint AIIMS whistleblower Sanjeev Chaturvedi into his office, but this went unheard. 
 
AAP has also alleged that after the 2016 HC decision, the LG office is delaying decision on several important schemes like mohalla clinics, doorstep delivering of ration, reconstruction of Delhi WAQF board, construction of polyclinics and CCTVs. However, the apex court decision has made things easy for AAP. “LG is bound by aid and advice of council of ministers, subject to the proviso to Article 239AA to refer the matter to President. He cannot act independently and has to act as per aid and advice of Council of Ministers,” said the SC.
 
The LG must work harmoniously with the state and the LG and council of ministers have to be constantly aligned, the SC added.
 
Interestingly, the SC verdict introduced nothing new but reiterated what’s already written in the constitution. Both, lieutenant governor and the chief minister need to understand that the complex structure of the national capital requires the mutual understanding between the two. The decision definitely gives more power to the state government to take decisions for the city without the consent of the LG. It also specifies that the LG can’t intervene in every matter.
 
However, with the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2019 and state assembly election in 2020, it’s unlikely to that the apex order will end the power tussle so easily.
 

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