Constitution Bench of SC commences hearing on Delhi-Centre governance row

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At a hearing before a Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Mr. Venugopal gave the assurance but said the immunity from prosecution would extend only to the amounts they had specifically mentioned in their petitions before the Supreme Court. However, the court observed that under the provisions of the constitution, the Lieutenant Governor has the last word and the elected government would have to operate within this framework. There were also some grey areas where the Delhi government had no footprints.

The 1998 notification said that in matters of public order, police and services, the L-G of Delhi would consult the chief minister, and in cases otherwise, the reasons would be recorded.

Assailing this finding Mr Subramanium said the HC verdict subverted the democratic governance structure put by a constitutional arrangement, which recognises Delhi's special powers despite being a Union Territory. "All we want is the government or RBI to examine the genuineness of difficulty we had in approaching banks between November 9 and December 30 a year ago and permit us to redeem the scrapped currencies in our possession, which is our hard-earned money", they said.

He also said that there are areas where Lt. Governor enjoys delegated powers and he alone is administrator in respect of them.

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The bench noted that Constitution has limited Delhi government's powers and it can not have a say on public order, police and land. "Yes, that has to be genuine", the bench said.

The matter was referred to the constitution bench by the bench of Justice Sikri and Justice R.K.Agrawal on February 15.

The hearing by the two judge bench on Delhi government's appeals had seen the court favouring a balance in the exercise of powers by the Delhi government and the Lt. Governor for good governance. You are an elected government but these are parts of law, governing Delhi.