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IndiaLG Delhi UT’s administrative head: HC

LG Delhi UT’s administrative head: HC

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NEW DELHI: Delhi continues to remain a union territory under the Constitution with the Lieutenant Governor (LG) as its administrative head, Delhi High Court today ruled, dealing a body blow to the Arvind Kejriwal government, which has been on warpath with the Centre over powers.

The special constitutional provision Article 239AA dealing with Delhi does not “dilute” the effect of Article 239 which relates to the union territory and hence, concurrence of the LG in administrative issues is “mandatory”, the bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini said.

The bench, also comprising Justice Jayant Nath, did not accept AAP government's contention that the LG is bound to act only on the aid and advice of Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers with regard to making laws by the Legislative Assembly under the Article 239AA and termed it as “without substance”.

“On a reading of Article 239 and Article 239AA of the Constitution together with the provisions of the Government of Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 and Transaction of of the Government of NCT of Delhi Rules, 1993, it becomes manifest that Delhi continues to be a Union Territory even after the Constitution (69th Amendment) Act, 1991 inserting Article 239AA making special provisions with respect to Delhi,” the bench said in its 194-page verdict.

Giving primacy to the concurrence of LG in transaction of Legislative business, the bench said, “It is mandatory under the constitutional scheme to communicate the decision of the Council of Ministers to the LG even in relation to the matters in respect of which power to make laws has been conferred on the Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi under clause (3)(a) of Article 239AA of the Constitution and an order thereon can be issued only where the LG does not take a different view”.

The court held that the AAP government's order for constituting a Commission of Inquiry to go into the alleged irregularities in the functioning of Delhi and District Association (DDCA) and CNG fitness scam was “illegal” as the orders were issued “without seeking the views/ concurrence” of the LG.

The court, which rejected almost all the contentions of Delhi government, however, agreed with its submission that the LG will have to act on its aid and advice in appointment of special public prosecutors.

The persistent claim of Delhi government that Centre has been creating roadblocks in functioning of its Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) by coming out with a notification which excludes Central Government employees did not find favour with the court.

It held that service matters fall outside the purview of Legislative Assembly and Centre's May 21, 2015 notification barring the ACB from proceeding against Central Government employees was “neither illegal nor unconstitutional”.

“The direction in the impugned Notification as reiterated in the Notification dated May 21, 2015 that ACB Police Station shall not take any cognizance of offences against officers, employees and functionaries of the Central Government is in accordance with the constitutional scheme and warrants no interference,” the bench said.

The verdict came on a batch of petitions, including those filed by the BJP-led Centre and Delhi government, on the issues relating to exercise of legislative powers and executive control in the administration of National Capital Territory of Delhi.

The court did not approve of the AAP government's decision to appoint its nominees as directors on the boards of private discoms on the ground that there was “huge” corruption in their functioning.

“The appointment of nominee directors of Government of NCT of Delhi on Board of BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, BSES Yamuna Power Ltd and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd by the Delhi Power Company Ltd on the basis of the recommendations of the Chief Minister of Delhi without communicating the decision of Chief Minister to the LG for his views is illegal,” it said.

It also termed as “illegal and unconstitutional” the policy decision of the city government empowering the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission to impose fine on discoms in the event of disruption of power supply on the ground that the LG was not on board.

The AAP government's decision to revise stamp duty rates for sale and transfer of land was also struck down.

“The notification dated August 4, 2015 issued by the Government of NCT of Delhi, Revenue Department revising the minimum rates for the purpose of chargeability of stamp duty on the instruments related to sale/transfer of agriculture land is illegal since the said notification was issued without seeking the views/concurrence of the LG as required under the constitutional scheme,” it said. (AGENCIES)

Northlines
Northlines
The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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