In a moral victory for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in his power tussle with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the LG has no independent power to take decisions and is bound by the elected government’s advice.
“There is no room for absolutism and there is no room for anarchism also,” the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court said in a unanimous ruling pronounced by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. The ruling also held that the Lieutenant Governor, who is appointed by the Centre, cannot act as an “obstructionist.”
The ruling vindicates Kejriwal, who has long accused Baijal of preventing him from functioning properly at the behest of the Centre. It also lays down for the first time clear guidelines for the LG’s conduct and delineates the powers of the two branches of the executive in Delhi, which does not have the status of a full state yet elects its own MLAs and government.
Here are the highlights of the SC judgment
* Lt. Governor is bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers
* Lt Governor has not been entrusted with any independent decision making power.
* Lt Governor has to either act on the ‘aid and advice’ of Council of Ministers or he is bound to implement the decision taken by the President on a reference being made by him.
* The Centre has exclusive executive power over land, police, law and order.
* The executive power of Delhi government is co-extensive with the legislative powers of the Delhi Assembly.
* The executive power of the Council of Ministers spans over all the subjects covered under the concurrent list and the State list of the Constitution except land, police, law and order.
* By no stretch of imagination, National Capital Territory of Delhi can be accorded the status of State under the present constitutional scheme.
* The status of Lt Governor of Delhi is not that of a Governor of State.
* Lt Governor is an Administrator in a limited sense.
* Parliament has the power to make laws for the NCT Delhi on any matter under the State list and the concurrent list.
* Delhi Assembly too has the powers to enact laws on the all the subjects covered under the concurrent list and the State list minus land, police, law and order.
* The executive action of the State must conform to the law made by the Parliament on certain subject falling under concurrent and State lists.
* Lt Governor should not act in a mechanical manner without due application of mind so as to refer every decision of the Council of Ministers to the President.
* The difference of opinion between the Lt. Governor and the Council of Ministers should have sound rationale and should not be the phenomenon of an obstructionist.
* The Lt Governor and the Council of Ministers must attempt to settle any point of difference by way of discussion and dialogue.
* Lt Governor must work harmoniously with his Ministers and must not seek to resist them every step of the way.
* The decision of the Council of Ministers that has to be communicated to the Lt. Governor does not mean that the concurrence of the Lt. Governor is required.
* Our Constitution is a constructive one. There is no room for absolutism. There is no space for anarchy.