Delhi being UT, its powers subservient to Centre: Jaitley

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New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) Rejecting claims by AAP and other opposition parties on the powers of the Delhi government vis a vis the Lt Governor, Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that the Supreme Court judgement emphasises the importance of the elected state government but Delhi being a Union Territory makes its powers subservient to the Central government.

In a Facebook post, he also said the apex court has held categorically that Delhi cannot compare itself on par with other states and, therefore, any presumption that the administrative control of the UT cadre of services has been decided in favour of Delhi government would be wholly erroneous.

Jaitley said the judgement elaborates at length the constitutional philosophy behind the Constitution and reaffirms precisely the text of what the Constitution says.

“It does not add to the powers of the state government or the central government nor does it in any way dilute the same. It emphasises the importance of elected state government but Delhi being a Union Territory makes its powers subservient to the central government,” he said.

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The former Law Minister said there were several issues which had directly not been commented upon but by implication there is some indication of those issues.

“However, unless issues of importance are flagged, discussed and a specific opinion is rendered, none can assume that silence implies an opinion in favour of one or the other,” he said, adding that if Delhi has no police powers, it cannot set up investigative agency to investigate crimes as had been done in the past.

“It has been specifically held by the Supreme Court that it is crystal clear that by no stretch of imagination, NCT of Delhi can be accorded the status of a State under the present constitutional scheme and the status of the LG of Delhi is not that of a Governor of a State, rather he remains an Administrator, in a limited sense, working with the designation of LG.

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“The Council of Ministers being headed by the Chief Minister should be guided by values and prudence accepting the constitutional position that the NCT of Delhi is not a State,” he said.

Jaitley said that Delhi unquestionably is a Union Territory. Its power structure has to be separate and distinct.

“It is the seat of the central government, the Supreme Court, the Rashtrapati Bhawan, offices of the central government, embassies of foreign countries are located in Delhi, heads of foreign states are frequent visitors to Delhi.

He said the Supreme Court has held that the provisions to Article 239AA of the Constitution is in the nature of a protector to safeguard the interests of the Union on matters of national interest in relation to the affairs of the National Capital Territory.

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“It would be appropriate to construe the proviso as a protector of national concerns in regard to governance of the NCT. The LG is a watchdog to protect them. The court has rightly observed that all the three institutions, the elected government, the LG and the central government must work in harmony keeping the interest of the people and the national capital in mind. Cooperation, operating in their respective constitutional space and not confrontation should be the objective,” he said.

–IANS

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