New Delhi, July 8 (IANS) In a set-back to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the Supreme Court on Friday declined to interfere with the Delhi High Court reserving its order on the dispute between the central and state governments on the administration of the national capital.
Noting that it was Delhi government which had approached the High Court on its tussle with the Centre, a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit said that that the High Court must be respected and left to decide the matter.
“In our considered opinion, when the High Court has already heard the matter and reserved the judgment on all the issues including the preliminary issue, it is desirable that the High Court should pronounce the judgment. Thereafter, needless to say, it will be open to the parties to seek their remedies as advised in law,” said the bench in its order.
The Delhi government had approached the apex court to question the Delhi High Court reserving its order on its batch of petitions challenging the central government for overruling a number of its decisions, including a spat on the appointment of the head of the Anti-Corruption Branch.
While disposing of the petition by Delhi government, the bench noted that on an earlier occasion on the plea by the Delhi government, the apex court had asked the High Court to “finalize the matter with regard to the interpretation of Article 239AA by the end of March, 2016” which was subsequently extended till July 2016.
Senior counsel Indira Jaisinh, appearing for Delhi government, told the court that matter being referred by the bench did not include the present batch of petitions, but the court said: “Be it clarified, in the said order, this Court had referred to batch of matters pertaining to dispute between the Government of NCT of Delhi and the Union of India.
When Jaisinh persisted with her argument that the High Court could not have entertained the Delhi government’s plea as Supreme Court alone had the jurisdiction to adjudicate on the issues of federal nature under Article 131 of the Constitution, the bench asked her whether high courts are entitled to interpret the law and examine their constitutionality and constitutional validity.
An unimpressed bench told Jaisinh: “Best course is we request the High Court to pronounce the order expeditiously. Question is you have gone to the High Court. It has reserved the order (on May 24. Why we should tell the High Court to decide this issue and not decide other issues on merits. High Courts in this country have their own independence.”
Making it clear that bench would not entertain repeated pleas that the high court be asked to decide the preliminary issue of jurisdiction first before taking up other issues, Justice Misra said: “We must respect High Courts. High Court have their own independent jurisdictional perception. It may go right or otherwise.”
“I always think if I am Chief Justice of High Court, how will I feel if I am asked to decide any matter in a particular way (format),” he said summing up the bench’s views that the proceedings of the High Court could not be interfered with except in exceptional circumstances.