Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are battling testing times. While the chief-at-large had a brush with a protest in Delhi and Punjab over controversies involving his party colleagues and cadres, the party suffered setback in the highest court of the land over the issue of power matrix of the Delhi government.
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant an interim stay on the Delhi High Court verdict which has held that Lieutenant Governor is the administrative head. The High Court order had also made it clear that LG’s prior consent is needed in all administrative decisions.
The AAP-led Delhi government had rushed to the apex court challenging the High Court’s decision.
Hearing the matter, the Supreme Court also declined Kejriwal government’s contention to stay LG Najeeb Jung’s recent decision to set up a three-member committee to scrutinise over 400 files and past orders of the state government.
“Every day there would be some order, we cannot pass orders on a daily basis,” a bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and NV Ramana said.
The bench, however, issued notice to the Centre seeking their response within six months. The court has now fixed the matter for final hearing on November 15.
The bench, simultaneously, did not concur with preliminary objections of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that the appeals needed to be dismissed at the threshhold on several grounds. The bench held that it was an important issue where a decision from the apex court was needed.
Senior lawyer K K Venugopal, appearing for AAP government, said the Centre and LG Najeeb Jung have “tied the hands of the elected government”.
On September 2, the Delhi government had informed Supreme Court that it has filed seven different pleas challenging the Delhi HC order and withdrawn its civil suit seeking declaration of the national capital as a full State.
The high court, on August 4, had held that Delhi will continue to remain a Union Territory under the Constitution with the LG as its administrative head.
It had also held that the special constitutional provision Article 239AA dealing with Delhi does not “dilute” the effect of Article 239 which relates to Union Territory and hence, concurrence of the LG in administrative issues was “mandatory”.
(With inputs from the PTI)