AAP Government files 6 Leave Petitions against High Court order on Delhi as Union Territory

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Delhi government on Friday informed Supreme Court that they have filed six different petitions challenging the Delhi High Court order and withdrew its civil suit on declaring the national capital as a full State. A bench of justices A K Sikri and B Y Chandrachur, while allowing the AAP government to withdraw the civil suit, gave the liberty to raise the issues raised in it in the Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) it has filed.

The apex court had last month asked the AAP government whether it would file an appeal against the High Court order holding Delhi as a Union Territory with Lt Governor as its administrative head and, if yes, by when. Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the Delhi government, on September 2 said as per the observation made by the bench in the last hearing of the case, they wished to withdraw the civil suit as six different SLPs challenging the Delhi High Court order have been filed.

She said the issues raised in the civil suit were very much similar to the issues in the SLPs. “In light of the filing of the SLPs, permission to withdraw the civil suit should be granted,” Jaising said.

She further said that liberty should be granted to them to raise the issues as and when fresh cause of action arises. To this, the bench said “that you can always do if any fresh cause of action arises, you can raise the issue as and when required”.

The bench further said it is not on the maintainability of the petitions or SLPs and clarified that it has not gone into the issues. It then gave permission to withdraw the civil suit. The bench on August 29 had taken note of the earlier statement of Jaising that the appeal against the high court order would be filed shortly, and had asked the other counsel of Delhi government as to when it would be filed.

It had said the Delhi government needed to file the SLP and the present suit would become “infructuous”. When AAP government’s suit came up for hearing earlier, the court had said that instead of pursuing the suit, the city government should file an appeal challenging the Delhi High Court’s decision.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, both representing the Centre, had vehemently opposed the plea of Delhi government saying that they cannot pursue parallel recourse for the same relief.

Earlier, the high court had held that Delhi will continue to remain a Union territory under the Constitution with the LG as its administrative head. 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”, the HC had said. It did not accept AAP government’s contention that the LG
was bound to act only on the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers with regard to making of laws by the Legislative Assembly under the Article 239AA and termed it as “without substance”.

“On a reading of Article 239 and Article 239AA of the Constitution together with the provisions of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 and Transaction of Business of the Government of NCT of Delhi Rules, 1993, it becomes manifest that Delhi continues to be a Union Territory even after the Constitution (69th Amendment) Act, 1991 inserting Article 239AA making special provisions with respect to Delhi,” the HC had said in its 194-page verdict.

The HC, which had rejected almost all the contentions of Delhi government, however agreed with its submission that the LG will have to act on its aid and advice in appointment of special public prosecutors.

(With PTI inputs)

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