The AAP government asked the Supreme Court has the Constitution of India or any Parliamentary law declared Delhi as India’s capital on Tuesday during the hearing of pleas on who enjoys supremacy in governing the national capital.
Indira Jaising, senior advocate, who was representing the Delhi government, told a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandradhud and Ashok Bhushan that the Constitution or any law does not refer to Delhi as the national capital.
Capital is not defined by any law. Tomorrow, the Centre can decide to move the capital to somewhere else. The Constitution also does not say the capital is to be Delhi. We know that the British moved the capital from Calcutta to Delhi. There is National Capital Territory of Delhi Act but it does not constitute Delhi as the capital of India,” she said.
There was no comment from the bench’s side.
She said that it is a crucial query that who is the commander-in-charge over the National Capital Territory (NCT)- AAP government or the Centre.
Jaising said having “two captains of a ship” would lead to chaos. “It is impossible to have two captains of a ship… this will lead to chaos. You cannot have two authorities in a single executive domain to say that ‘I have the powers’,” she said.
“How are these provisions applicable in the case of union territory of Delhi,” the bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, asked.
“Everything boils down to day-to-day administration. How can the Centre say that you (Delhi government) cannot have the executive power. I can understand this position on legislative powers,” Jaising said.
She said, “I am not claiming that Delhi is a state as it has an assembly and a council of ministers headed by the chief minister. But like the executive powers of the states and the Centre are defined and made exclusive, a similar solution needs to be found for Delhi.”
In order for Arvind Kejriwal government to function smoothly, there has to be division of power, unhampered by the Centre, Jaising stressed.
She said that at least in case of social welfare, women’s welfare, employment, sanitation and healthcare, the Delhi government should have the commanding authority.
The arguments remained inconclusive and would resume today.
Earlier, the Delhi government had accused the LG of making a “mockery of democracy” and said that he was either taking decisions of an elected government or substituting them without having any power.
Prior to this, the apex court had said there cannot be day-to-day impediments by the LG in the elected government’s functioning as the responsibilities conferred on him are “not absolute”.
It had also observed that the position of Delhi was different from other states and the elected government was under an obligation to apprise the LG about policy decisions.
The court is hearing a batch of appeals filed by the AAP government challenging the Delhi High Court verdict holding that the LG was the administrative head of the national capital.