Delhi Vs Centre battle reaches final stage, the Supreme Court refers matter to Constitutional Bench

By NL Team

Published on :

It appears that the Delhi Vs Centre battle has reached its final round. On Wednesday, the two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court referred a series of appeals filed by the Delhi government over administrative powers and against the Delhi High Court verdict of August 4 which hailed the Lieutenant Governor as –the administrative head of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.

Challenging the order of the Delhi high court which had held that primacy in administering the affairs rests with the Lieutenant Governor and by extension, the Centre, senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam had earlier told the bench that the order was a complete “mutilation” of Article 239 AA of the constitution granting special status to NCT.

The bench of AK Sikri and RK Agrawal referred the appeals to the Chief Justice of India JS Khehar. It said that the appeals raise important questions of law and involves matters of the Constitution and hence should be heard upon by a Constitutional bench. Reportedly, it also refrained from framing issues and questions to be looked upon the larger bench.

Interestingly, the Delhi government counsel Rahul Mehra once tried to oppose the reference of the matter to the Constitutional Bench. Possibly because the Aam Aadmi Party-led government wanted to keep its options open – as it nearly impossible to overturn a judgement by any Constitutional Bench.

However, the SC agreed to the submission of Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar that the issues involved, required an interpretation of the Constitution.

Earlier in December 2016, the two-judge Bench had observed that an “elected government should have powers. Otherwise, the government won’t be able to function at all.”