Delhi government withdraws SC suit on statehood, to pursue matter through appeals

New Delhi, Sep 2 (IANS) The Arvind Kejriwal government on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it was withdrawing its suit seeking declaration of Delhi as a state because it had already filed six petitions challenging the Delhi High Court order on the same issue.

The high court had held that the Lieutenant Governor was the administrator of the national capital and, therefore, had the last word in governance.

Allowing the state government to withdraw the suit, the apex court bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said it could file a new court case if there was a fresh cause of action. The suit had been filed in January this year.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar opposed the plea of withdrawal by Delhi’s senior counsel Indira Jaising. However, the bench said it would not go into the question of whether the National Capital Territory, Delhi, was a Union Territory or not.

Jaising informed the court that the first of the six appeals against the high court order was filed on August 31. The others had been submitted on September 1 and 2. She said the state government would raise all the issues mentioned in the suit through its appeals before the apex court.

On August 5, the Delhi High Court had ruled that the Lt. Governor was not bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers. “Policy direction can’t be issued without communicating to Lt. Governor,” the court held.

Delhi’s Lt Governor Najeeb Jung had termed the verdict as “validation of the Constitution”, while the Aam Aadmi Party government said it will move the apex court against the decision.

The high court ruled that decisions taken by Delhi’s Council of Ministers had to be communicated to the LG and if the LG took a different view on it, a reference had to be made to the central government.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath had said that on a reading of Article 239 and Article 239A of the Constitution, together with the provisions of the Government of NCT of Delhi Act 1991, “it becomes manifest that Delhi continues to be a Union Territory”.

The high court had also ruled in favour of the home ministry notification that declared that the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) cannot initiate any action against central government employees and that its power was limited only to Delhi government officials.

Besides this, the high court had also quashed the commission of inquiry set up by the Delhi government to look into the award of work related to grant of CNG Fitness Certificates in the transport department.

It had also set aside the commission of inquiry to probe into the allegations of irregularities in the functioning of Delhi and District Cricket Association as it held that it was set up “without seeking the views/concurrence of the LG”.

However, on the appointment of public prosecutors, the high court had held that though the Lt Governor was competent to appoint them, he had to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.



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