Both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Aam Admi Party are claiming victory in the judgment of the five-judge Supreme Court bench which unanimously held that real power rests with the council of ministers in Delhi.
AAP leader Ashutosh said the judgment is a victory for Indian democracy and an indictment of the BJP’s attempts to block governance through the Lieutenant Governor. The BJP’s Nalin Kohli agreed that the judgment is a victory for constitutionalism but pointed out that the Supreme Court has merely reiterated what was known all along – that the LG must be kept in the loop of all decisions that the Delhi government makes as the national capital does not enjoy Statehood.
The apex court today ruled that the Lieutenant Governor cannot act as an obstructionist in policy decisions of the union territory. All decisions of the government must be conveyed to the Lieutenant Governor, but his concurrence is not needed in all matters, Chief Justice Of India Dipak Misra said, handing Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP a victory in its ongoing tussle with the Lieutenant Governor appointed by the central government.
The AAP government had accused the Lieutenant Governor of acting on the directions of the Modi administration and usurping the powers which rest with the elected government. It said the Lieutenant Governor, through his actions—and in some instances inaction by sitting on files—made it difficult for the constitutionally elected government to carry out its mandate.
The Aam Admi Party-led government in the national capital had moved the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court ruled in the Lieutenant Governor’s favour.