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'Not subject to advice of Delhi govt': LG to SC on power to nominate aldermen in MCD

May 17, 2023 01:43 AM

NEW DELHI: The Lt Governor's office has told the Supreme Court that the governance of municipalities is independent of the elected state governments and the role of LG as an administrator under the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) Act is not a "mirror-image" of what is provided under the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD Act), or Article 239AA of the Constitution.

The LG's office, in an affidavit in the apex court, said: "MCD is an institution of self-government and the role of the administrator, within the meaning of the MCD Act is not a mirror image of what is provided either under Article 239AA or under the GNCTD Act".

Defending his decision to nominate 10 aldermen in the Delhi Municipal Corporation, the LG's office said the independent mechanism of self-government is separate and distinct from the mechanism/ framework of the GNCTD Act.

"The spheres of authority for the elected government of Delhi and the Lt. Governor of NCT of Delhi have been specifically delineated under the DMC Act. It is submitted that the Lt. Governor is referred to as the Administrator in the DMC Act and has been identified as a source of authority, distinct from the Central Government and the GNCTD."

The affidavit contended that the entire ambit of local self-government by a municipal corporation is discussed in various provisions of Article 243 of the Constitution. The LG office filed the affidavit in response to the AAP-led Delhi government's petition to quash the former's notifications of January 3 and 4 to nominate the aldermen.

The LG's office said that the discretionary power of "administrator" under the DMC Act is recognised independent of any interference by the other four sources of authority. "For that matter, even other authorities, namely the Central Government, the GNCTD, the Corporation as well as the Commissioner, exercise independent discretionary powers in different spheres for different purposes... the provisions as regards the powers specifically conferred on the Administrator, as opposed to the powers of the Government, and such powers include, inter alia, the power to nominate the aldermen, " said the affidavit.

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the LG, contended that there is no concept of 'aid and advice' under the DMC Act and that this is relevant only in the context of Article 239AA.

The apex court queried about the "source of power" of the LG under the Constitution and the law to nominate 10 aldermen to the MCD without the aid and advice of the elected government.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud queried Jain: "What is the source of power for you to nominate? Show us the source of power of LG..."

Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, representing the Delhi government, cited the 2018 judgment and recent constitution bench judgment on control over services and argued that the LG has to act as per the aid and advice of the government and he should have taken back the nominations by now.

The apex court will continue to hear the matter on Wednesday.

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