The Delhi government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court it was not seeking full statehood, but instead wanted more administrative powers. Appearing before the court for the Aam Aadmi Party administration, senior counsel Gopal Subramaniam said a democratically elected government could not be “subservient to the Lieutenant Governor”, PTI reported.
“It is inconceivable that in a Cabinet form of government, you have a titular head who is not accountable but interposes himself on every decision,” Subramaniam told a bench of the court comprising justices AK Sikri and RK Agarwal. The advocate asked whether Delhi’s lieutenant governor could “nullify a decision of the Council of Ministers”. However, the government did not dispute the governor’s move to send back a ministerial decision for reconsideration.
Subramaniam added that while the Representation of People Act, 1951, provided for the direct election of a state government and legislators, the Delhi administration was being overruled by the lieutenant governor, “who is not answerable to anyone”. “Would there be a situation where the Chief Minister will tell the legislature that his government did take decisions but the same were vetoed by the L-G?” the advocate asked.
The AAP government’s arguments came during a hearing on its pleas challenging a Delhi High Court verdict upholding ruling that the lieutenant governor was the administrative head of the National Capital Region. The Arvind Kejriwal-led government had moved the high court after the Home Affairs Ministry passed a notification on May 21, giving “unprecedented powers” on matters such as public order, police and services to former lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung.s