Celebrations broke out at Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party office in Delhi after the Supreme Court ruled that the elected AAP government, and not the Lieutenant Governor, wields the “real power” in the national capital. But the centre’s senior law officer thinks that the AAP government might be jumping the gun.
Maninder Singh, the centre’s senior law officer, told NDTV that the top court’s judgment was not a setback for the centre or the Lieutenant Governor.
“Nothing has changed,” Mr Singh said.
The senior lawyer said the Lieutenant Governor could still disagree with the elected government “for good reasons” and ask the President to take a call before the decision is implemented.
The verdict, Mr Singh said, only interprets the Constitution which allows the Lieutenant Governor “to be aware of every decision which being taken “and for good reason, to express his disagreement where ever it is needed”.
“This was the position earlier. This continues to be the position because that is the position in the constitutional scheme,” he said.
The centre’s interpretation of the Supreme Court verdict implies that the AAP government should not expect a dramatic change in the Lieutenant Governor’s approach.
The verdict has not read down provisions invoked by the Lieutenant Governor to disagree with the AAP government. It did, however, make it clear that except for anything related to land, police and public order, the Lt Governor has no independent decision-making powers under the constitution.
The tussle had started months after the AAP swept to power in Delhi in 2015, winning 67 of 70 seats and reducing the BJP to only three. AAP alleges that the BJP-led central government has since been exacting revenge and using the Lt Governor to block every decision taken by the Kejriwal government.