File appeal against Delhi HC verdict, then we will hear you, SC tells AAP govt.

On Thursday, HC held that Lt. Governor is the administrative head of Delhi.

Updated - November 17, 2021 04:06 am IST

Published - August 05, 2016 12:32 pm IST - New Delhi:

"Why hear your suit for a declaration of Delhi as a full State when the Delhi High Court has already declared it a Union Territory, better challenge the High Court verdict in the Supreme Court first," the apex court told the Arvind Kejriwal government on Friday.

Frowning on the multiple litigations indulged by the Delhi government, a Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and N.V. Ramana refused to consider the suit filed by it for the time being.

Instead, the apex court said it preferred to wait and see if the Delhi government would file its appeal against Thursday's judgment of the High Court.

“Please record that our special leave petition against the Delhi High Court will be filed this week itself. You can record it,” senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the Delhi government, assured the Bench.

“We don't have to record anything. It is your choice to file,” Justice Sikri responded.

In the course of the hearing, the Bench perused the suit records and asked Ms. Jaising how many of the issues have already been dealt with by the High Court verdict.

“You cannot shy away from challenging the High Court by coming to us with this suit. It will not lead you anywhere. The right course will be for you to challenge the HC judgment, and once we have decided that, this suit will have no relevance,” Justice Sikri observed.

Ms. Jaising said the primary question they want the apex court to answer is whether the dispute between AAP-Centre was a federal dispute coming under Article 131 of the Constitution.

“That question will be decided in the special leave petition... we will if necessary set aside the High Court judgment if it is found to be wrong... But you had approached the Supreme Court and also knocked on the doors of the High Court,” Justice Sikri countered.

When asked how much time they would take to file their special leave petition against the High Court judgment, Ms. Jaising replied that it would be filed within the week.

She urged the Bench to tag the suit along with the special leave petition, so that both could be heard together by this Bench.

Justice Sikri however remained non-committal, observing that the choice of Bench was always the prerogative of the Chief Justice of India, who would decide which Bench should hear what matter.

At this point, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, questioned how the AAP government could have filed a suit in the Supreme Court simultaneously as they were pursuing a separate remedy under the writ jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court.

“Both cancel each other. It should be one or the other,” Mr. Rohatgi submitted.

“Yes, that point he made is a serious issue,” Justice Sikri reacted, addressing Ms. Jaising.

“The very fact that they want a declaration as a State shows that they are not a State,” Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, also for the Centre, pitched in.

The court posted the matter for August 29.

The Delhi government, in its suit, wants the Supreme Court to declare the boundaries of the constitutional relationship between it and the Centre in administering the National Capital.

The suit alleged the Centre was encroaching Delhi government's administrative domain and the Supreme Court should now clearly define the powers of the Lieutenant Governor, who represents the Centre, so that none steps on the other's toes.

It highlighted issues like how the Delhi Police is run by the Centre unlike in other States.

Disputes have arisen over the last year on the question whether Delhi Government can act in relation to the other matters in List II (State List) without prior approval of the Administrator, that is the Lieutenant Governor.

It has argued as to how the government cannot even increase the salaries of its DANICS officers. The LG had previously declared such a hike as null and void.

The Anti-Corruption Branch, Delhi has been restrained from registering FIRs against employees of the Central government for corruption. Commissions of Enquiry set up under the Commissions of Enquiry Act, 1952 have also not been allowed to function on the ground that they have not been notified by the Lieutenant Governor, it said.

The High Court verdict has however quashed several of these notifications issued by the Delhi government without permission from the Lieutenant Governor.

It has further dismissed the Delhi government's claim that this is a 'federal dispute', saying the political wrangle between the Centre and AAP government is only a tussle over “services” issues which does not attract Article 131 of the Constitution.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.