In a landmark judgment that clarifies the respective roles of Lt Governor and chief minister of Delhi in view of the constant tussle between them in recent times, the Supreme Court has done well to clear the air and fix responsibility and powers.
The most significant aspect of Wednesday’s judgment of the apex court is the assertion that Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal does not have independent decision-making powers and is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Delhi government’s council of ministers.
That the Lt Governor was riding roughshod and bulldozing his decisions was clear from the manner in which decision-making was happening in the state. The judgment was pronounced by the Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. The apex court observed that the Delhi LG cannot act as an ‘obstructionist’.
“There is no room for absolutism and there is no room for anarchism also,” the court ruled, in a veiled reference to the LG’s role and that of the chief minister.
The court also ruled that all decisions of the council of ministers need to be communicated to the LG but that does not mean his concurrence is required.
The court also said that except for three issues — land, police and public order--- the Delhi government has the power to legislate and govern on other issues. This is a shot in the arm for the Arvind Kejriwal government which has been complaining that its hands were tied and the lack of powers was hampering its work.