AAP, Kejriwal stunned by Delhi High Court decision on row with Lt. Governor

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Thursday told the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor is not required to act on the advice of the Delhi cabinet. This comes as a blow Arvind Kejriwal’s bid to corner more executive powers into the Delhi CM’s office. The Delhi government has said it would appeal against the Delhi HC ruling in the Supreme Court.

The Delhi HC dismissed a batch of petitions by the AAP, that challenged the powers of the Lieutenant Governor (LG). Kejriwal and his party have been railing against the reading of Constitutional provisions that make the LG the administrative head of a Union Territory.

Kejriwal has been insisting+ that executive power rests in the office of the Delhi Chief Minister and that the LG is obligated to act on the advice that is given to him/her by the Delhi cabinet.

“The Lieutenant Governor is the administrative head of the National Capital Territory,” the Delhi HC declared in its decision on Thursday. “The AAP government’s contention that the LG is bound to act on advice of the council of ministers is without any substance and cannot be accepted,” the HC added.

The AAP had filed a total of nine petitions in the Delhi HC, contending that the power to make appointments and issue instructions did not rest with the LG, but with the Delhi CM. The petitions had risen out of a series of clashes between LG Najeeb Jung and the Delhi government.

The Delhi government had argued that in a democratic set up there cannot be two reporting authorities. The Centre however had contended that as a Union Territory, Delhi was not a full-fledged state, and that control over its government rests in the hands of the Union Home Ministry.

The AAP government on May 28 last year had moved the Delhi HC in response to the Centre’s decision to take the issue to the Supreme Court. The Centre had challenged a Delhi HC ruling that termed as “suspect” the Home Ministry’s notification to the Anti-Corruption Branch not to act against its officers in certain cases.

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