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The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict tomorrow in the much awaited tussle between the Delhi government and the Central government, putting an end to the ambiguity surrounding the status of the National Capital Territory and the role of Lieutenant Governor.
The judgment will be pronounced at 10.30 am by a Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.
The case pertains to the interpretation of Article 239AA of the Constitution of India. Article 239AA provides for special provisions with respect to Delhi. The peculiar status of the National Capital Territory and the powers of the Delhi Legislative Assembly and the Lieutenant Governor and their interplay will be debated in the case.
The case itself has its genesis in a notification issued by the Central government in May 2015. The said notification stated that,
“In accordance with the provisions contained in article 239 and sub-clause (a) of clause (3) of 239AA, the President hereby directs that –
subject to his control and further orders, the Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, shall in respect of matters connected with ‘Public Order’, ‘Police’, ‘Land’ and ‘Services’ as stated hereinabove, exercise the powers and discharge the functions of the Central Government, to the extent delegated to him from time to time by the President.
Provided that the Lieutenant Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi may, in his discretion, obtain the views of the Chief Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi in regard to the matter of ‘Services’ wherever he deems it appropriate.”
It also stated that the Anti-Corruption Branch Police Station shall not take any cognizance of offences against officers, employees and functionaries of the Central government. The Aam Admi Party (AAP) government in Delhi claimed that this notification was a gross abuse of power and ultra vires the constitutional scheme. It, therefore, challenged the same in the Delhi High Court.
The High Court ruled against the Delhi government, holding that Delhi continues to be a Union Territory, and that the Lt. Governor of Delhi is not bound to act only on the “aid and advice” of the Delhi Legislative Assembly.
This led to the appeal in Supreme Court.