SC verdict on who administers Delhi likely on Wednesday

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New Delhi, July 3: The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce on Wednesday it verdict over who — the Centre or the elected Delhi government — controls the reins of power to administer the national capital.

A Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, and Justice Ashok Bhushan had reserved the verdict on the contentious issue between the Centre and the AAP government on December 6 last year after hearing the matter for 15 days.

The Delhi government had moved the apex court to challenge a Delhi High Court verdict that held that the Lt Governor held primacy over an elected government in the administration of Delhi.

Asserting that it had the executive powers on which it can aid and advice the Lt Governor, the Arvind Kejriwal government had contended that an elected government can’t be treated subservient to an overriding authority of the Lt Governor.

The Delhi government also contended that it was only in an emergency situation that the Lt Governor can refer to the President the matters on which there are differences of opinion between the Lt Governor and the elected government.

The Delhi government also argued that the constitutional provisions can be interpreted only to advance the goals of the Constitution and the people’s democratic aspirations.

On the other hand, the Centre contended that all executive powers to administer the national capital were vested in it and that it exercised the same through the Lt Governor.

The Centre told the court that the “aid and advice” by the elected Delhi government was not binding on the Lt Governor, as was the case with other states.

Even as the Centre sought to underline the pivotal position that the Lt Governor enjoys in the administration of Delhi, the apex court said that the Lt Governor was expected to show “constitutional statesmanship” in dealing with an elected government.