Published On: Wed, Jul 4th, 2018

Delhi not full state, L-G must take advise of Cabinet: Supreme Court

New Delhi: A Supreme Court Constitution Bench on Wednesday said the Delhi Lieutenant Governor cannot act independently and must take the aid and advise of the Council of Ministers.

There is no space for absolutism or anarchy in our Constitution

The apex court observed that the national capital enjoys special status and is not a full state. Hence, the role of the L-G is different than that of a Governor. The apex court also observed that neither the state nor the L-G should feel lionized, but realise they are serving Constitutional obligations. “There is no space for absolutism or anarchy in our Constitution,” the SC stated.

The court said the Lieutenant Governor (LG) was bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Minister in all the areas except land, police and law and order.

Speaking for Justice AK Sikri and Justice AM Khanwilkar, Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that the LG was not vested with any independent decision-making powers and cannot act in a mechanical manner.

It further ruled that in case of difference of opinion with the Council of Ministers, the LG has to refer the matter to the President, whose decision then would be binding.

The court further stated that the decisions of the Council of Ministers has to be communicated to the LG but that does not mean that the Council of Ministers requires his concurrence.

The court said that the provision that the LG can refer “any matter” under Article 239 to the President does not mean every matter.

Chief Justice Misra said that the executive powers of the Delhi government were co-extensive with its legislative powers.

The top court further said that Delhi can legislate on any issue that falls in the State list or the Concurrent list except for three areas of land, police, law and order.

Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan pronounced separate but concurring judgements.

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