Kejri Vs LG hearing a non-starter as Justice Rao also recuses; Will now go to a 4th bench

Kejri Vs LG hearing a non-starter as Justice Rao also recuses; Will now go to a 4th bench

The much-awaited hearing of the petition filed by Arvind Kejriwal government seeking demarcation of powers of the state government and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung who have been engaged in a prolonged battle of wits seems to be a non-starter.

After Justice  J S Khehar recused from hearing the plea yesterday, today it was the turn of justice L Nageswara Rao to withdraw from the case. Apparently the reason is that Rao was an Additional Solicitor General of the Central government before he quit the post and continued active practice before being elevated to the bench.

This meant that the case will now travel to a fourth bench within a span of five days. First Chief Justice T S Thakur said he will refer to another bench which was Justice Khehar’s bench. After he recused yesterday it had gone to  bench headed by Justice A R Dave who sits with Justice Nageswara Rao.

After Justice Rao recused, advocate Indira Jaising who represented Delhi government  once again mentioned the matter before Chief Justice T S Thakur for an early hearing. CJI Thakur said he could not specify the date as it all depended on the holiday for Id. He hinted that if the “holiday was tomorrow, it may be heard as early as Thursday”.

Yesterday Jaising and Rohatgi who appeared for the Centre got into a heated verbal exchange after a bench of Justice J S Khehar and Justice Arun Mishra said they could not hear the matter for some reason and it has to be placed before another bench.

AAP government is seeking a direction to restrain the High Court from delivering its judgement on issues including the scope of powers of the city government to exercise its authority in performing public functions.

It claimed that only the apex court has jurisdiction under the Constitution to deal with issues relating to the powers of States and Centre.

The Supreme Court has on  May 15 in a very significant decision admitted a petition filed by Delhi’s  Kejriwal government--- under Article 131 of the Constitution ---seeking a judicial declaration on the boundaries of the constitutional relationship between the Delhi government and the Centre, in administering the national Capital  especially to clearly earmark each of their powers.

The Registry of the court issued summons to the Union of India “represented by the Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs” on May 11 and specified that the matter would be taken up after the apex court’s summer vacation

This is following a sustained conflict between the AAP Government and the Centre through its Governor Najeeb Jungwho have been engaged in an intense power struggle ever since Kejriwal took over the reins of Delhi 15 months ago.

Delhi government moved the apex court under a rarely invoked provision - Article 131 of the Constitution - which vests exclusive jurisdiction with the Supreme Court over disputes between states of the Union and between the Union and its states.

Emphasising that it wants to ensure that day-to-day lives of people are not affected by the Centre-state conflict, the petition points out that the L-G had unprecedently declared void several orders issued by a democratically-elected government of Delhi.

From the appointment of public prosecutors, to the setting up of Commissions of Enquiry to look into instances of corruption and maladministration by public servants, the Union - acting through the Lieutenant Governor - has opposed most executive decisions taken by the government of NCT of Delhi, the Kejriwal government has told apex court.

 LG had declared as void commissions of enquiry into CNG fitness scam and DDCA scam., Orders increasing salaries of DANICS officers have been declared void by LG, Anti-Corruption Branch restrained from registering FIRs against employees of Central Government for corruption, Tiff over appointment of Public Prosecutors and government counsels, Fight over control of Delhi Police, Delhi government not allowed to introduce bills in Delhi Assembly without LG’s approval, Delhi government not given say on transfer postings of Delhi bureaucrats

“We want to ensure that day-to-day lives of people are not affected by the centre-state conflict. The Lieutenant Governor has unprecedently declared void several orders issued by a democratically-elected government of Delhi” Kejriwal government  told the Supreme Court

“From the appointment of public prosecutors, to the setting up of Commissions of Enquiry to look into instances of corruption and maladministration by public servants, the Union - acting through the Lieutenant Governor - has opposed most executive decisions taken by the government of NCT of Delhi, it said