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Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi v. Union of India - (High Court of Delhi) (04 Aug 2016)

Setback to AAP Government as Delhi High Court ruled against it



High Court pronounced that, National Capital Territory continues to be a Union Territory and the Lieutenant Governor is its administrative head

Bunch of Petitions centred around on common issues relating to the exercise of legislative power and executive control in the administration of National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD). Impugned orders have been challenged primarily on ground that, said orders having been passed without placing the decision of the Council of Ministers before the Lt. Governor for his concurrence/views are illegal and unconstitutional.

Article 239AA provided special provisions stating the Union territory of Delhi shall be called the NCTD and there shall be a Legislative Assembly for the National Capital Territory and the seats in such Assembly shall be filled by members chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the National Capital Territory.

Reading of Article 239 and Article 239AA of Constitution together with the provisions of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 and Transaction of Business of Government of NCT of Delhi Rules, 1993, it becomes clear that Delhi continues to be a Union Territory even after Constitution (69th Amendment) Act, 1991 inserting Article 239AA making special provisions with respect to Delhi.”

Delhi admittedly is a Union Territory and shall be governed by provisions enumerated under Part VIII of the Constitution. A Union Territory shall be administered by President through an Administrator appointed by him with such designation as he may specify or through the Governor of a neighbouring State, save as otherwise provided by Parliament by law. While interpreting provisions of Article 239 of the Constitution, it has been held by Supreme Court that, though the Union Territories are centrally administered under the provisions of Article 239 they do not become merged with the Central Government and they form part of no State but are the territories of the Union. President who is the executive head of a Union Territory does not function as the head of the Central Government, but under Article 239 of Constitution, administration of Union Territories is left with the President of India and he functions as head of the Union Territory under powers specially vested in him under Article 239. Under Article 239, President occupies, in regard to the Union Territory, a position analogous to that of a Governor in a State. Thus, Union Territory does not entirely lose its existence as an entity though large control is exercised by the Union of India.

Lt. Governor under Section 24(8) of Cr.P.C. does not act eo-nominee but exercises executive functions of State. Hence, said power has to be exercised on aid and advice of Council of Ministers in terms of Clause (4) of Article 239AA of Constitution. It is not open to Lt. Governor to appoint Special Public Prosecutor on his own without seeking aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. Court upheld notification of the Centre that, Anti-Corruption Branch Police Station shall not take any cognizance of offences against officers, employees and functionaries of the Central Government. The Bench held it to be in accordance with “the constitutional scheme and warrants no interference”.

Court held as illegal the appointment of Nominee Directors of Government of NCT of Delhi on Board of BSES Rajdhani Power Limited, BSES Yamuna Power Limited and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited by the Delhi Power Company Limited on the basis of the recommendations of the Chief Minister of Delhi without communicating the decision of the Chief Minister to the Lt. Governor of NCT of Delhi for his views. Delhi High court declared as illegal all Commissions of Inquiry appointed without the approval of the LG such as the Commission of Inquiry for inquiring into all aspects of award of work related to grant of CNG Fitness Certificates, the Commission of Inquiry to inquire into allegations regarding irregularities in the functioning of Delhi and District Cricket Association.

Court declared that, “The matters connected with 'Services' fall outside the purview of the Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi... Therefore, the direction in the impugned Notification S.O.1368(E) dated 21.05.2015 that the Lt. Governor of the NCT of Delhi shall in respect of matters connected with 'Services' exercise the powers and discharge the functions of the Central Government to the extent delegated to him from time to time by the President is neither illegal nor unconstitutional.”

Further, Court pronounced that it is mandatory under constitutional scheme to communicate the decision of Council of Ministers to Lt. Governor even in relation to matters in respect of which power to make laws has been conferred on Legislative Assembly of NCT of Delhi.


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