In a setback for Kejriwal government, Delhi High Court on Thursday ruled that the Lieutenant Governor was the administrative head of National Capital Territory.
Delhi High Court also dismissed petition filed by AAP govt challenging powers of the LG in the state.
While pronouncing the verdict, the high court also said the Centre’s 21 May, 2015, notification barring Delhi Government’s Anti-Corruption Branch from proceeding against Central Government employees is neither illegal nor unsustainable.
It also said service matters fall outside the jurisdiction of Delhi Legislative Assembly and the LG exercising the powers in such matter is “not unconstitutional”.
The bench held as illegal AAP government’s order appointing Commission of Inquiry in the CNG fitness scam and Delhi and District Cricket Association scam since the same was issued without concurrence of LG.
The court said the appointment of Nominee Directors of Delhi Government on Board of BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, BSES Yamuna Power Ltd and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd by the Delhi Power Company Ltd, on the basis of recommendations of the Delhi Chief Minister without communicating the decision to the LG for his views, is “illegal”.
“The proceedings of the Government of NCT of Delhi, Department of Power… dated June 12, 2015 issuing policy directions to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission regarding disruption in electricity supply to consumers and compensation payable in respect thereof are illegal and unconstitutional since such policy directions cannot be issued without communicating to the LG of NCT of Delhi for his views,” the bench said.
The court, however, said though the LG is competent to appoint Special Public Prosecutor under Section 24(8) of CrPC, such power has to be exercised on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers in terms of Clause (4) of Article 239AA of the Constitution.
The court had earlier reserved its verdict on various aspects including interpretation of Article 239AA of the Constitution which relates to special provisions with respect to Delhi.
The judgement was reserved on nine separate pleas, including those which have sought quashing of the May 21, 2015 order of the Centre barring the ACB from proceeding against any staff under the Centre’s control.
The issues involved the petitions include CNG fitness scam, DDCA scam and revision of circle rate.
The HC said that the LG was not bound to act as per advise of the Dehi Cabinet.
This comes after the Supreme Court had refused to entertain Kejriwal government’s plea on interpretation of powers of Delhi government vis a vis Centre.
The Supreme Court had criticised the state government stating that they should have withdrawn their plea in the Delhi High Court before approaching the SC.
The bench headed by justice Dipak Misra said that the High Courts had their own independence under the Constitution to decide the matter.
“Why should we ask Delhi HC to decide only on jurisdiction and not on the merit on the case,” Misra said.