Kejriwal Vs LG suit: SC accuses AAP govt of attempting “parallel proceedings”

Kejriwal Vs LG suit: SC accuses AAP govt of attempting “parallel proceedings”

The Supreme Court today accused the Delhi’s Kejriwal government of attempting to initiate parallel proceedings on the issue of its ongoing tussle with the Lt Governor over sharing of powers by making the apex court hear two petitions on the same issue.

The rap came for the government insisting on hearing of the pending suit while it is set to file an appeal against the Delhi High Court order which had ruled that LG was the administrative head of the capital and was not bound by the aid and advice of the chief minister or council of ministers.

A bench of Justice A K Sikri and Justice N V Ramana asked the government why it was not withdrawing the suit when it had decided to file an SLP against HC order soon. Delhi government counsel then urged some more time for filing the SLP and sought adjournment of the suit hearing which was granted. The next hearing will be coming Friday.

Even while its plea in Delhi High Court was pending, 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.

FOLLOWING WAS THE COURTROOM EXCHANGE:

Delhi Govt counsel: We want an adjournment of the suit hearing

Bench: Reason?  

Govt:: We are supposed to file SLP..We are in the process of filing SLP

Bench: What remains as far as suit is concerned ? See once the High Court has decided on merits why two parallel proceedings? In all fairness, withdraw it . You file SLP. We shall hear that. We are fixing it for next friday

The court had earlier made similar request to advocate Indira Jaising too asking why suit was being kept alive. She 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. She went on to contend that the HC order was “invalid” as under article 131, only the apex court had the jurisdiction to adjudicate disputes between Centre and a state.

But it is to be noted that HC bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini had dealt with this issue also. It 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.

The suit had been filed  following a sustained conflict between the AAP Government and the Centre through its Governor Najeeb Jung who 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