Delhi's Governance Issue be Referred to Larger Bench: HC Told
NEW DELHI: The Aam Aadmi Party government today told Delhi High Court that the petitions before it on the issue of interpretation of Article 239AA regarding powers of Lieutenant Governor on the governance of the national capital be referred to a larger bench.
The plea was made in an application filed before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath by the Delhi government, contending that since the issue "involves interpretation of the Constitution" and "raises substantial question of law of great public importance", a larger bench of the High Court should hear the matter.
Senior advocates Indira Jaising, Rajiv Dutta, Bishwajit Bhattacharyya and H S Phoolka, appearing for Delhi government, asked the court to decide as a "preliminary issue" whether the petitions have to be referred to a larger bench.
They contended that the Centre was trying to interpret Article 239AA to mean that Union government is the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi and "if that interpretation is accepted, then a democratically elected government will be reduced to zero". "What is the status of the elected government of Delhi?" Jaising asked and added "it requires interpretation of Constitutional provisions, especially 239AA. Hence, it needs to be referred to a larger bench".
The senior lawyers also contended that there have been two contradicting verdicts from high court on the issue due to which, it should be referred to a larger bench.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Centre, contended that there was no need for referring the petitions to a larger bench.
Arguing on the larger issue of interpretation of Article 239AA, the ASG contended that "appropriate government" means the Union government where union territories are concerned.
On the setting up of a commission of inquiry by Delhi government to probe the CNG fitness scam, ASG Jain said it was a "fundamentally flawed exercise of powers".
Arguments in the matter remained inconclusive and are expected to continue tomorrow.