L-G vs Delhi Govt: Centre wants issue referred to Supreme Court`s larger Bench

  • | Thursday | 19th January, 2023

New Delhi, January 18 The Delhi Government on Wednesday sought a clear demarcation of its powers with regard to control over bureaucracy in the national Capital even as the Centre urged the Supreme Court to refer the issue to a larger Bench. A five-Judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud – which reserved its verdict on the issue — expressed surprise at Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehtas request to refer the issue of tussle between the Lt-Governor and the elected government for control over services to a larger Bench. As the Bench assembled, Mehta said, I have already filed an application seeking reference. I have already argued the point. I am seeking permission to file a written note. The CJI told Mehta: But we did not hear any argument on reference It was never argued… Mr Solicitor, now you cant... Dr (AM) Singhvi (representing Delhi Government) is in his rejoinder (responding to Centres arguments). Reference has to be argued at the outset. The SG responded: The reference is on the ground that the contours of federalism between the Union and the Union Territory require a relook. I am not repeating anything. Its covered in my arguments. I just need to put a two-page note. The Centre has sought a larger Bench reference on the ground that the 2018 Constitution Bench verdict interpreting Article 239 AA of the Constitution and laying down powers of the Delhi Government was not in tune with an earlier nine-Judge Constitution Bench verdict in NDMC vs State of Punjab (1996) in which it was held that Delhi was on the same footing as a Union Territory. I hope the boundaries are clearly demarcated in black and white this time, Singhvi submitted. Describing Mehtas arguments as ambush argument to derail days of arguments, Singhvi said, It is unfortunate that the Centre is advancing reference to larger Bench argument, of which not a whisper was made during the long arguments…This will be hugely dilatory. But Mehta maintained it could be anything but dilatory. supreme court

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