Centre-Delhi Power Tussle: SC refuses to entertain AAP government’s plea

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New Delhi | Updated: July 8, 2016 2:26:52 PM

The Supreme Court refuses to entertain the Delhi government's plea challenging the High Court's jurisdiction in Constitutional Matters between Centre and states.

SC-LThe AAP government had appealed to the SC that the High Court be asked to decide only preliminary issues in the conflict on scope of the state’s power.

The Supreme Court today refused to entertain the Delhi government’s plea challenging the High Court’s jurisdiction in Constitutional Matters between the Centre and the states.

Through its plea, the Delhi government had appealed the SC to restrain the Delhi High Court from ruling upon a number of petitions on determination of the scope of powers between the Centre and the Delhi Government.

The AAP-led Delhi government had appealed that the High Court be asked to first decide the preliminary issue as to whether it has jurisdiction over disputes between the Centre and the state or is it “exclusively” triable by the apex court.

However, the apex court today ordered the Delhi government to approach it only after the Delhi HC has decided all the issues, including the preliminary issue as to whether it has the jurisdiction over the dispute.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit said that the High Court has independent powers and it should pronounce the order first.

However, the Delhi government has the liberty to challenge the HC order before the apex court, they added.

The apex court asserted that the High Court is a “Constitutional court” and had the power to decide and interpret constitutional matters like this.

Arguing for the Delhi government, senior advocate Indira Jaising cited Constitutional provisions regarding the powers of Delhi as a Union Territory.

She argued that the Delhi has an elected and responsible government and judgment of this court applies in this case that the Lt Governor has to run the administration on the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and Council of ministers. She also said that the this dispute was exclusively triable by the apex court.

However, the bench pointed out that the Delhi government had approached the High Court first.

“Tell me why you (Delhi government) knocked the door of the Delhi High Court first. You knocked the doors of the Delhi High Court under Article 226. Now High Court has reserved the judgment and every court has the power to determine its jurisdiction,” the bench said.

“Why should we tell the High Court that you decide this and don’t decide that…High Court has its own authority under the Constitution,” they added.

A power tussle between the AAM Admi Party-led Delhi government and Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung has been on for a long time for the control over Anti- Corruption Branch and power to transfer or retain administrative officials.

In its plea, Delhi government has claimed that only the apex court had jurisdiction under the Constitution to deal with issues relating to the powers of States and Centre.

It has been alleged by the AAP government that it has been unable to function as most of its decisions are either annulled or changed by the Centre at the behest of Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung on the ground that Delhi is not a complete state.

The HC had on May 24 reserved its verdict on the plea of AAP government seeking a stay on the proceedings on petitions arising out of its standoff with the LG over powers to appoint bureaucrats in the national capital and other issues.

(With PTI inputs)

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