What is Article 239 AA? The law that underlines powers of L-G and Chief Minister in Delhi

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Published: July 4, 2018 2:11:24 PM

In a big shot in the arm for Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government in Delhi, the Supreme Court of India on Tuesday held that Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal does not have independent decision-making powers, and is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.

arvind kejriwal, lg, lietenant governor anil baijal, article 239 aa, article 239 aa powers of delhi, power of delhi lg, power of delhi governmentThe top court’s decision, which came in virtual disagreement to what the Delhi High Court held earlier, said the LG should not act in a mechanical manner and stall the decisions of the Council of Ministers.

In a big shot in the arm for Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government in Delhi, the Supreme Court of India on Tuesday held that Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal does not have independent decision-making powers, and is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. The top court’s decision, which came in virtual disagreement to what the Delhi High Court held earlier, said the LG should not act in a mechanical manner and stall the decisions of the Council of Ministers.

Delhi got its first chief minister in 1952, when Congress’ Chaudhary Brahm Prakash was appointed as the head of the state. Shortly after his term ended, the office of Chief Minister of Delhi was abolished for 37 years until December 1993. In 1991, Parliament passed a constitutional amendment act which mandated elections in the national capital. First elections were held in 1993 and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Madan Lal Khurana was sworn in as the chief minister.

Here are some of the very categorical mentions made in the Article 239 AA about the powers and functions of Delhi government and Lietenant Governor:

About the Cabinet, the Chief Minister and Lieutenant Governor

– There shall be a Council of Ministers consisting of not more than ten percent, of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly, with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Lieutenant Governor in the exercise to his functions in relation to matters with respect to which the Legislative Assembly has power to make laws, except in so far as he is, by or under any law, required to act in his discretion.

– Provided that in the case of difference of opinion between the Lieutenant Governor and his Ministers on any matter, the Lieutenant Governor shall refer it to the President for decision and act according to the decision given thereon by the President and pending such decision it shall be competent for the Lieutenant Governor in any case where the matter, in his opinion, is so urgent that it is necessary for him to take immediate action, to take such action or to give such direction in the matter as he deems necessary.

About the Delhi Government:

– There shall be a Legislative Assembly for the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the seats in such Assembly shall be filled by members chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the National Capital Territory.

– The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly.

– Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the Legislative Assembly shall have power to make laws for the whole or any part of the National Capital Territory with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the State of List or in the Concurrent List.

– However, the Delhi Assembly is also exempted to make laws in certain issues. “Law can be made in any such matter is applicable to Union territories except matters with respect to Entries 1,2, and 18 of the State List and Entries 44, 65 and 66 of that List in so far as they relate to the said Entries 1,2,and 18,” the text of the Article 239 AA reads.

What court said today

In a verdict on the power tussle between the Delhi government and the Centre, the Supreme Court has said that Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal does not have independent decision making powers, and is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. The Court said that all decisions of the Council of Ministers, who are elected representatives of the people of Delhi, must be communicated to the LG but that does not mean his concurrence is required. “There is no room for absolutism and there is no room for anarchism also,” the court ruled. The top court further said the LG should not act in a mechanical manner and stall the decisions of the Council of Ministers.

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