SC has not added to powers of AAP govt, says Jaitley as fight for control of Delhi continues

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New Delhi, July 5: Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday the Supreme Court’s ruling over the fight for control of Delhi does not add or take away from the powers of the state government and the Centre even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accused the Lieutenant Governor and bureaucrats of disrespecting Wednesday’s order.

“There are several issues which had directly not been commented upon, but by implication, there is some indication of those issues. However, unless issues of importance are flagged, discussed and a specific opinion is rendered, none can assume that silence implies an opinion in favour of one or the other,” Jaitley said in a Facebook post on Supreme Court’s observations.

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“Secondly, the Supreme Court has held categorically that Delhi cannot compare itself at par with other States and, therefore, any presumption that the administration of the UT cadre of services has been decided in favour of the Delhi government would be wholly erroneous,” the minister added.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra on Wednesday said the real powers of governance of Delhi rest with the elected representatives and the Lieutenant Governor is bound to act on the aid and advice by the council of ministers.

The top court said in the case of difference of opinion with the council of ministers, the L-G has to refer the matter to the President, whose decision will be a binding. However, the court added that the provision under Article 239 does not mean the L-G can refer every matter to the President.

It also held that Delhi cannot be accorded the status of a state and laid down broad parameters for the governance of the national capital, which has witnessed a bitter power tussle between the Centre and Delhi government since the AAP came to power in 2015.

Jaitley said the judgement emphasises at the importance of elected state government but as Delhi is a Union Territory, its position makes its powers subservient to the central government.

“Delhi is not a state and, therefore, there could be no assumption that powers which belong to state government also belongs to the elected government of the Union Territory,” he added.

“It has been specifically held by the Supreme Court that it is crystal clear that by no stretch of imagination, NCT of Delhi can be accorded the status of a state under the present constitutional scheme and the status of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi is not that of a Governor of a State, rather he remains an administrator, in a limited sense, working with the designation of Lieutenant Governor.”

Source Hindustan Times