Delhi-Centre turf spat hearing today

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The SC said that the supremacy in the administration of the Union Territory of Delhi was prima facie tilted in favour of the LG.

Subramanium said that LG was taking several executive decisions and a harmonious interpretation of Article 239AA is required to fulfil the constitutional mandate for a democratically elected government in Delhi.

The observation was made by a constitution bench comprising five judges as the Delhi government began its arguments on the long-standing tussle between the Centre and the state government over the exercise of administrative power in Delhi.

The Delhi Government does have a point, however, when it says that for day-to-day governance issues it is the elected executive which is responsible and will be held accountable by the people.

Subramanium cited the instances of Lt. Governor holding meeting with the officials without the presence of Ministers concerned and issuing instructions.

He also said that there are areas where Lt. Governor enjoys delegated powers and he alone is administrator in respect of them.

Constitutional collegiality, observed the Chief Justice of India (CJI) on Thursday hearing an appeal preferred by the AAP Government in Delhi challenging a Delhi High Court order confirming the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) as the administrative head of the National Capital Territory, was probably on the mind of the Constitution-makers when they included provisions applicable to the exercise of administrative power in various territories of India.

The matter was referred to the constitution bench by the bench of Justice Sikri and Justice R.K.Agrawal on February 15.

Considering the constant run-ins between the LG and the Chief Minister, the bench said the proviso given under Article 239AA (69 th Amendment Act of 1991) of the Constitution clarifies that the L-G's decision would prevail in the event of a dispute.

AAP government told the apex court that its ministers have to bow down before the bureaucrats to get their opinions and, by virtue of proviso in Article 239AA, the babus do not acknowledge them as the heads of the departments.

Sensing where the bench was driving at, Subramanium said that the Delhi government too was raising its resources.

Hearing will continue on November 7.

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