The Centre informed a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that Delhi enjoys “special status” among union territories under the Constitution but that did not make it a state.
The Centre argued that the Constitution was silent on awarding co-extensive executive and legislative powers to the Delhi government.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the Centre, said, “The Delhi government is demanding treatment as a full-fledged state. It is a Union Territory with some special powers.”
He further said, “The Delhi government is empowered to take care of daily utilities but the real administrative powers are vested with the Centre and the President.”
Singh also told the bench, “If you have to treat a union territory as a state, then the Constitution must provide for it. Unless there is a specific mention, you can’t read State into it. It will result in inevitable chaos."
He also accused the AAP government of demanding “uncontrolled, vertically divided executive powers.”
Earlier, The Delhi High Court in August 2016 had held the Delhi Lieutenant Governor as the administrative head to the National Capital Territory (NCR). It then had told the AAP government that Delhi was still a union territory. Soon after the AAP government had challenged the High Court's decision in the Supreme Court, contending that a “democratically elected government can’t be subservient to the Lieutenant Governor.
The Supreme Court had recently observed that the Lieutenant Governor seems to have primacy under the Constitution and the Delhi government cannot act without L-G's agreement.