The Delhi High Court on Thursday ruled that the lieutenant-governor is the administrative head of the National Capital Region, dismissing the Aam Aadmi Party’s contention that the person holding the post must act on the advice of the Delhi Cabinet. The court also ruled that the Council of Ministers must confer with the lieutenant-governor before taking key decisions. Reacting to the verdict, the party said they will challenge the order in the Supreme Court, reported ANI.
The bench stated that it was not unconstitutional for a lieutenant-governor to exercise their powers on service matters. It also said various appointments, including the inquiry panel for Delhi and District Cricket Association, were illegal without the lieutenant-governor’s approval.
The court was hearing nine petitions on the power tussle between the Delhi government and the lieutenant-governor. The AAP-led government in the NCR had argued that it does not need to take the lieutenant-governor’s permission on matters such as law and order and land. The Centre, however, claimed that it had a range of powers in the area through the lieutenant-governor.
The AAP government had moved the high court after the Ministry of Home Affairs passed a notification on May 21 giving "unprecedented powers" to the L-G. The new document replaced an older one that was put in place in 1998. Previously, the L-G had to consult the acting chief minister of the region regarding matters related to public order, police and services. However, according to the new notice, the L-G can independently decide on such matters in the NCR.