NEW DELHI: The Constitution does not provide "vertical division" of powers between the Centre and Delhi which enjoys a special status among all the union territories (UTs), the central government today told the Supreme Court.
It referred to the Constitution, the 1991 Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act and the Transaction of Business of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Rules before a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, to drive home the point that the President, the union government and the Lieutenant Governor (LG) had supremacy over the city dispensation in administering the national capital.
Additional Solicitor General Manninder Singh, appearing for the Centre, cited before the bench the example of the consolidated funds and said "the complete control on finances is exercised by the LG".
The law officer rebutted the submission of the Arvind Kejriwal government that it was elected by the people and was seeking democratic rights for the Delhi'ites.
While the central government was also an elected government, he told the bench, which also comprised Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, that moreover, there used to be the municipal council having elected councillors earlier, which controlled and performed civic services and there was no "lack of democracy", The constitutional provisions cannot be interpreted in such a manner to divide powers which were not there, he said.
Referring to the powers vested with the President, Centre and the LG, Singh said they were vested with the power to decide what will be the official language of a particular locality in Delhi depending upon the nature of the population living there, and even this decision-making authority was not with the local government.
He said the Delhi High Court, while holding the LG as the administrative head of the national capital, had followed earlier apex court judgements.
The advancing of arguments remained inconclusive and would resume on November 28.
The top court is hearing a clutch of appeals filed by the AAP government challenging Delhi High Court's verdict holding LG as the administrative head of the national capital.
Yesterday, the Centre told the apex court that the national capital belonged to all Indians and not just to those residing in Delhi.
It had also argued that Article 239AA of Constitution, which deals with power and status of Delhi, was a "complete code" in itself.
Parliament has made it clear that Delhi was a union territory and there was no doubt about it and the city government was empowered to take care of daily utilities of the national capital but the real administrative powers were vested with the Centre and the President.
The Delhi government has accused the LG of making a "mockery of democracy", saying he was either taking decisions of an elected government or substituting them without having any power.