The Centre on Tuesday opposed the submission of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi in the Supreme Court and said that the national capital has been given a special status among all Union territories of the country under the Constitution, which however does not make it a state – CM Arvind Kejriwal has long been fighting a battle with the Prime MInister Narendra Modi government to get the reigns of the national capital into his hands. The Centre, which is already locked in a legal battle with the Delhi government as to who enjoys supremacy in the national capital, commenced arguments before a Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.
Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh said Delhi enjoyed a “special status” among the Union territories in the country but this did not change the status national capital to the status of a state as is defined in the Constitution.
He further said that even as the Delhi government was given power to take care of daily utilities of the national capital, the actual administrative powers were vested with the Union Government and the President.
While distinguishing the Delhi government’s position with other states, Singh pointed out that the national capital does not figure in any provisions which deal with powers of states. He pointed out that Delhi government was asking for a treatment of a state even as it was a Union territory with special powers.
During the hearing, Singh also disagreed with several senior lawyers who had argued for Delhi government, for using terms like ‘viceroy’ and ‘suprema lex’ for Lieutenant Governor’s office.
He said that if a Union territory has to be treated like a state, then the Constitution must provide. It cannot be considered a state unless there is a special mention of it.
Appearing for the Delhi government earlier in the day, advocate Shekhar Naphade, concluded his submissions saying the Lieutenant Governor’s office has no role and has to act as per the advice of the council of ministers. He added that in case of any differences the Lieutenant Governor was authorised to send the matter to the President.