Supreme Court on Monday asked the AAP government whether it would file an appeal against the High Court order holding Delhi to be a Union Territory with Lt Governor as its administrative head and, if yes, by when.
The court, which had said it would together hear a pending civil suit to declare Delhi as a state and its future appeal on statehood, was irked when the counsel for Delhi sought an adjournment on the hearing of the lawsuit.
“You file the special leave petition (against the Delhi High Court judgement) and withdraw this (civil suit). Take instruction. List (the civil suit) on Friday,” a bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and N V Ramana said.
The bench took note of the earlier statement of senior advocate Indira Jaising, who had appeared for Delhi government on August five, that the appeal against the high court order would be filed shortly, and asked the other counsel of AAP government as to when it would be filed.
The Delhi government needed to file the SLP and the present suit would become “infructuous”, the court said.
As AAP government’s suit came up for hearing, the court had earlier said that instead of pursuing the suit, the city government should file an appeal challenging the Delhi High Court’s decision.
“You have to challenge the order of the Delhi High Court.
Whether the HC has decided the issue rightly or wrongly would be decided by the Supreme Court in a Special Leave Petition (SLP). What is the use of this suit now? What is the point in duplicating the proceedings,” the bench had said.
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.
The bench has now fixed the lawsuit on September 2 for hearing.
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 the Union territory and hence, concurrence of the LG in administrative issues is “mandatory”, the High Court had said.
The high court did not accept AAP government’s contention that the LG is bound to act only on the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers with regard to making 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 bench said in its 194-page verdict.
The court, 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)