Amid the ongoing tussle between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, two eminent lawyers have come out in support of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.
The controversy, however, could be traced to certain degree of legislative ambiguity particularly in view of the special status enjoyed by Delhi under the Constitution.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising has said that the L-G has to accept the view of a democratically-elected government so far as appointment of chief secretary or other top officers was concerned. Likewise, eminent lawyer Rajiv Dhawan saw the whole crisis as created by the L-G.
“The chief minister has a perfect right to appoint a Chief Secretary of his choice. I am firmly of the opinion that this crisis has been created entirely by the L-G,” Dhawan said.
Delhi has so far not been granted status of a full-fledged state. According to Schedule I of the Constitution, it continued as a Union Territory.
But the amendment to Constitution granted Delhi, along with Puducherry, a special status, different from other Union Territories.
With regard to other UTs, the Parliament’s will is supreme. Delhi, with its own elected Assembly, has the right to legislate on almost all issues, except on subjects such as public order, law and land.
However, in case of a conflict between a law enacted by the Delhi Assembly and one passed by Parliament, the will of the Parliament would prevail.
Difference of opinion
According to Article 239 AA of the Constitution, the L-G was empowered to refer the matter to the President in case of any difference of opinion between him and his council of ministers and act as per the decision of the President. But pending President's decision, he could act as per his opinion.
The National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1992 and the Transaction of Business of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Rules, 1993 also gave vast powers to the L-G to take decisions including calling for papers relating to any proposal made by any department or seek any information on issues which could bring Delhi government into controversy with the central government or any other state government.