News update: Constitution Bench of SC begins hearing petitions of Delhi government today.

On Thursday (2nd November) a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India begins hearing the petitions filed by the Delhi Government to determine the extent of power with the Lieutenant Governor and State government. The bench comprises of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.

A Delhi High Court judgment dated August 4th, 2016, had held that the LG to be the administrative head and ruled that he would not be bound by the advice of the council of ministers. The Delhi Government has appealed this decision by way of a Special Leave Petition.

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court on February 25 referred the matter to a Constitution bench after hearing the matter for more than five months. The bench refrained from framing the questions to be taken up by Constitution Bench.

It has been submitted on behalf of the Delhi government, that the Union, through the Lieutenant Governor, has opposed most executive decisions taken by the government of NCT of Delhi. For example, proposals for extension of local mohalla clinics, schemes under the PWD department, Minimum wages Act.

In the morning session of today’s Constitutional Bench hearing, Senior Advocate Gopal Subramanium has engaged the Bench in a discussion on the powers of discretion available with the LG as under Article 239AA. This section gave NCT of Delhi a special status via the 69th Constitutional Amendment.

Detailed legal updates from today’s hearing will follow.