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The Delhi Government is categorical in not giving up its Chief Minister’s power to call the shots in the capital. In the submissions made before the Delhi High Court today, the Government argued that under Article 239AA of the Constitution, legislative power of the Chief Minister was co-extensive with the executive power exercisable by him.
The submissions came in the background of a plea filed by the Delhi Government challenging the MHA notification of May 21. Appearing for GNCT Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan argued before a Single Bench of Justice VP Vaish that Article 239AA ‘crystallized the law’ so far as the constitutional role of the Chief Minister was concerned. He also stated,
“In a hybrid state like Delhi, the Lt-Governor or Governor has to act in accordance with the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. Only in certain entries (under the VII Schedule) reserved by the Parliament, can he exercise his own discretion. Even there, in some cases, he HAS to consult the CM. The aid and advice of the Cabinet is binding on the Lt-Governor. Constitutional significance of the Delhi CM is given in the Constitution itself.”
Krishnan further went on to add that once a decision was taken by the CM & Cabinet jointly, it ceased to remain ‘a mere proposal’ and was in fact, a decision that was communicated to the Lt-Governor.
“The Constitution doesn’t allow (L-G) to act in a manner indicating that the elected government doesn’t exist in Delhi.”
Appearing for the Union, ASG Sanjay Jain sought permission from the Bench to file an application in order to place the Union’s additional affidavit on record. After hearing arguments from Krishnan, who will continue with his submissions in the next hearing, the Bench posted the matter for further hearing on September 2.