LG administrative head of Delhi, says High Court

 njungmIn a major setback to Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi High Court on Thursday held that Lieutenant Governor (LG) is the administrative head of national capital territory.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath dismissed AAP Government’s plea challenging the Centre’s May 21, 2015, notification giving absolute powers to LG in appointing bureaucrats in the national capital.

Pronouncing its verdict in the legal tussle between the Delhi Government and the Centre over control of administrative issues and distribution of power in the national capital, the court said, “AAP government’s contention that LG is bound to act on advice of Council of Ministers is without any substance and cannot be accepted”

The court also said that the May 21, 2015, notification of Centre barring ACB from proceeding against Central government employees is neither illegal nor unsustainable.

“Service matters fall outside the jurisdiction of Delhi Legislative Assembly and LG exercising the powers is not unconstitutional,” the court said.

However, the AAP government’s counsel in High Court said that they will immediately file an appeal against the verdict.

The High Court pronounce the verdict on a set of 11 petitions challenging various decisions of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led-Delhi Government and Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, and the interpretation of Article 239 AA of the Constitution.

“As from the date of commencement of the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991 the Union Territory of Delhi shall be called the National Capital Territory) and the administrator thereof appointed under article 239 shall be designated as the Lieutenant Governor,” says Article 239 AA.

On May 24, the High Court had reserved its verdict on the plea of the Delhi Government seeking a stay on the proceedings on the petitions arising out of its standoff with the Lieutenant Governor over powers to appoint bureaucrats in the national capital and other issues.