Centre-Delhi power tussle, SC to hear AAP govt plea on Monday

DELHI(PTI): The Supreme Court has agreed to hear on urgent basis Delhi government’s plea for full Statehood and extent of powers under Article 299AA of the Constitution on July 4.

The Delhi government contends that the issues involved in the dispute were of federal nature, in which the Supreme Court had an exclusive jurisdiction under Article 131 of the Constitution.

However, a Delhi High Court Division Bench comprising Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath had said the Supreme Court itself had fixed a deadline for deciding the matters by July-end and added that it could not stay the hearing at the fag end of proceedings.

This prompted Delhi government to approach Supreme Court now.

Earlier, the Delhi government had moved the Supreme Court seeking a judicial declaration on the boundaries of the constitutional relationship between it and the Centre in administering the National Capital.

In a suit filed in the apex court, the Arvind Kejriwal government said the Centre was encroaching into the Delhi government’s administrative domain and the Supreme Court should now clearly define the powers of the Lieutenant-Governor, who represents the Centre, so that no one steps on the other’s toes.

It has also highlighted issues like the Delhi Police being run by the Centre, unlike in other States.

Disputes have arisen over the last year on the question whether the Delhi government can act in relation to the other matters in List II (State List) without prior approval of the administrator, “that is the Lieutenant-Governor”, the Delhi government pointed out.

It argued that the Delhi government cannot even increase the salaries of its DANICS officers. The L-G, Najeeb Jung, had previously declared such a hike “null and void”.

Delhi’s Anti-Corruption Branch has been restrained from registering FIRs against the employees of the Central government for corruption. Commissions of Enquiry set up under the Commissions of Enquiry Act, 1952, have also not been allowed to function on the ground that they have not been notified by the L-G, it said.

The government said the time has come for the apex court to finally resolve the questions on the distribution of legislative and (co-extensive) executive powers between the Centre and Delhi.