Constitution gave executive powers, Delhi govt to SC

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NEW DELHI: The Arvind Kejriwal government did a course correction in the Supreme Court on Wednesday and said it wanted to exercise executive powers as mandated by constitutional provisions and not as a grant from the Centre, only to be impeded at every step by the lieutenant governor.

Appearing for Delhi government, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan discarded earlier counsel Indira Jaising’s argument that there was a vertical division of executive power between the Centre and Delhi government and that the SC should make this division distinct. “I am not subscribing to vertical division of executive power between the Centre and the Delhi government. I am on parliamentary and legislative federalism which is the soul of our constitution and democratic structure,” Dhavan said.

He said Parliament had delineated legislative powers of the Delhi assembly by excluding subjects like police, law and order and land, which were generally available to a state legislature. “We have no quarrel with this demarcation of areas on which the assembly can legislate. If the assembly legislates on the subjects it is entitled to, can the LG stall the Delhi government from executing the mandate of the legislature by citing difference of opinion?” he asked.

Dhavan said the ambit of “difference of opinion” between the LG and the Delhi government must be interpreted to create a harmonious situation in which an elected government could exercise its executive power without being impeded at every step and stay accountable to the assembly and the people of Delhi. The bench agreed and said, “We need to understand the realm, sweep and ambit of difference of opinion between the LG and the Delhi government. We will attempt to clear this maze on difference of opinion by interpreting the relevant constitutional provisions and their interplay.”

“As far as legislative power is concerned, there is no doubt and the areas are delineated. It is the executive sphere that the controversy has arisen. The LG cannot take decisions on his own on any issue. He can only cite difference of opinion on decisions taken by the council of ministers headed by the CM. But the areas in which the LG can have difference of opinion with executive decisions of the Delhi government is not specified by the Constitution. That is where we (SC) come in.” Dhavan said Article 239 AA of the Constitution clearly demarcated the powers that the Delhi legislative assembly and the elected government of the national capital would enjoy.
Source:- Times Of India

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