The Supreme Court on Thursday indicated that it may fix a time frame within which the Delhi Lt. Governor should dispose of the files sent to him by the state government and in case of delay in clearing files, he will have to assign reasons. "Article 239AA is unique to Delhi". The court however asked the petitioners to file an intervention application before the Constitution Bench of the court which is hearing the main matter on demonetisation.
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. You are an elected government but these are parts of law, governing Delhi.
If a dispute were to arise between the Lieutenant Governor and the Chief Minister, the former would be the final authority until the President makes a decision, the apex court added. He argued that Article 239AA could not be used by the L-G to frustrate the constitutional mandate for an elected government in Delhi.
He also said that there are areas where Lt. Governor enjoys delegated powers and he alone is administrator in respect of them. On the flip side, given the Constitutional scheme of things, ego if any must be put aside and the Government must work through the Lieutenant-Governor who does prima facie have primacy of power if that is what providing good governance to the residents of the Capital requires.
The bench commenced its hearing on a batch of special leave petitions filed by the Delhi government against a judgment of the Delhi high court which held that the L-G was the administrative head and was not bound by the aid and advice of the chief minister or council of ministers. "Yes, that has to be genuine", the bench said.
The appeals were referred to the Constitution Bench in February by a Division Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and R. K. Agrawal. The new notification, however, said that in police and other service matters, the L-G could take decisions independently.
As for the contention that the L-G was exceeding his powers, the court told the AAP government to spell out the specifics to enable the court to assess its points.
Hearing will continue on November 7.