Setback for AAP govt, HC rules LG is Delhi administrative head; Manish Sisodia says 'will move SC'
The Delhi High Court on Thursday ruled that Lt Governor was not bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers.
New Delhi: With the High Court ruling against it in the turf battle with Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, AAP government on Thursday said it will challenge the order in the Supreme Court and questioned why the Constitution was amended to have a legislative assembly if the city was to be run by the LG.
"We respectfully disagree with the High Court verdict," Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, adding there was a "big difference" between any other Union Territory and the national capital and alleged that on the "pretext of rules", various decisions aimed at curbing corruption have been stalled.
"The High Court says Delhi is merely an Union Territory. If as per Constitution Delhi is only an UT, then why was it amended to make Delhi an UT with legislature.
"If Delhi was to be run by the Lt Governor, then why was the Constitution amended to have state assembly. Why provision was made to have an elected government. We were targeted as we tried to rid the city of corruption," he said addressing a press conference after the High Court today ruled that Governor is the administrative head of Delhi and that the national capital remains a Union Territory.
Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain said city government will move the Supreme Court against the HC verdict.
"Several acts of the Parliament relating to Delhi have defined both the Lt Governor and the Government of NCT as different entities. So, if Constitution had considered Delhi a mere UT, the city would have functioned like Chandigarh, Lakshadweep and Andamans. But it is not so," he said.
Sisodia said people of Delhi had brought AAP to power with a historic mandate hoping that that corruption will "end" in all spheres of governance and when AAP started to fulfil people's aspirations, the efforts to curtail "rights of a democratically elected government" had started.
"When we started fixing the issue of corruption, caught corrupt policemen, the crisis began there. They felt if the government continues to work like this, the business of transfer-postings will shut down and corruption will end. They could not digest it and started curtailing rights of a democratically elected government.
"The Anti-Corruption Branch was part of Delhi Government since 1993. But the day the ACB caught a policeman accepting bribe, it was brought under the Centre. The services department too was taken away from Delhi Government," Sisodia said.
Targeting Jung, Sisodia said Kejriwal government was consistently prevented by the LG and Centre from taking any action against corruption since it was formed.
"They wanted a government in Delhi which cannot take action in cases of corruption, compensate farmers, transfer officials.
"This decision of the High Court should be seen in this background. The government had approached the court after it was stopped from doing all these works," he said
A Delhi government spokesperson said that the verdict shows it has "undermined powers of council of ministers mentioned in the Constitution".
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Raghav Chadha said "a democratically elected government cannot be undermined. This isn't a fight for supremacy, but democracy".
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath dismissed AAP Government's plea challenging the Centre's May 21, 2015, notification giving absolute powers to LG in appointing bureaucrats in the national capital.
The court also quashed several notifications issued by Kejriwal after returning to power last year, saying they were illegal as they were issued without concurrence of LG. T