Arvind Kejriwal government on Tuesday raised an unexpected question in the Supreme Court that asked whether the Constitution of India or any law passed by Parliament has ever declared Delhi as the capital of India. Senior advocate Indira Jaising, representing Government of Delhi, told a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan that no reference of Delhi being the capital of India exists in the Constitution or in any law. She told Supreme Court that Capital is not defined by any law, adding, that the Centre can decide to move the capital to somewhere else. The Constitution also does not say the capital is to be Delhi, she argued. Jaising made her remarks during the hearing of pleas on the ongoing issue of supremacy in between Delhi government and Centre in governing the national capital, Times of India reports.
Later, Supreme Court raised the question whether the constitutional scheme on division of executive powers between the Centre and the states can be made applicable to Delhi. Jaising said that the executive powers of Delhi should be ascertained in the light of the constitutional scheme providing a clear division of powers between states and the Centre.
Jaising said that having “two captains of a ship” would lead to chaos. “How are these provisions applicable in the case of union territory of Delhi,” the bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan asked. “Everything boils down to day-to-day administration. How can the Centre say that you (Delhi government) cannot have the executive power. I can understand this position on legislative powers,” Jaising said.
The senior lawyer further added that the court should not be guided by the nomenclature of Delhi as a Union Territory while interpreting Article 239AA and the executive powers of the Delhi government and there should be no “blurring of responsibilities” between the state and the Centre.
Jaisingh further said that the Supreme Court will have to eventually deal with the executive powers of the Centre and the state under Article 239AA, the constitutional provision which deals with issues of Delhi and its powers.
“It is impossible to have two captains of a ship… this will lead to chaos. You cannot have two authorities in single executive domain to say that ‘I have the powers’,” she said.