The clashes between Kejriwal and Lt Governor of Delhi crosses its all limits. Now the question arises that who is more powerful constitutionally. Here we are bringing a comparison between both of them.
The constitutional power of Lt Governor of Delhi
Lt Governor of a union territory is a delegate of the president. A union territory(UT) by definition is centrally administered. Some UTs have legislative assembly and some do not. Delhi is a UT with a legislative assembly. The UT’s name is National Capital Territory NCT. The constitutional provisions that are relevant for New Delhi are 239 A and 239 AA. 239A is applicable to all UTs but 239AA is specific for NCT. All units are administered through a various directive from home ministry.
Both these acts, place Lt Governor as the ‘administrator’ appointed by the president at the recommendation of the home ministry. Specifically for New Delhi, Lt Governor has additional powers (land, law and order, etc) considering the status of New Delhi. All decisions made by the legislative assemble require Lt Governor’s approval. Where there is a difference in opinion between the assembly and the Lt Governor, the matter is referred to the president.
The assembly can make laws on other issues apart from land, law and order but they need Lt Governor’s approval. The laws cannot be repugnant to the laws of parliament i.e, they cannot contradict the parliamentary law. The Lt. Governor office is responsible for this.
Lt. Governor is the judicial representative of the union territory. That means, if you file a lawsuit against Delhi, the defendant for the UT is Lt. Governor.
Under the constitutional scheme, the Delhi Assembly has the power to legislate on all subjects except law and order and land. However, the Puducherry Assembly can legislate on any issue under the Concurrent and State Lists. However, if the law is in conflict with a law passed by Parliament, the law passed by Parliament prevails. But like the AAP government in Delhi, the Congress government in Puducherry too can do little but watch helplessly if the LG appointed by the Centre starts making life difficult for it.
The constitutional power of CM of Delhi
Unlike those of other states, the chief minister of Delhi enjoys limited powers. According to the 69th amendment to the Constitution, the Delhi Assembly lacks the powers to make laws relating to police, public order and land. CM will need the Centre’s cooperation on many subjects that overlap with Centre’s powers.
Delhi CM has complete control over 40000 crores annual budget. Controls Education Transport Health etc with full authority. Also has control over Police, yes police, although police come under central home ministry as a norm, they always listen to MLAs and surely listen to CM.
Anyone who says that Delhi CM is rubber stamp is very wrong. As such all CMs have to work within the constitutional framework and have limited powers. Just that one or two portfolios are not within direct control of central govt doesn’t make much difference. There are established communication channels to get all works done through central ministries.
In fact, Delhi CM has a huge advantage as Delhi CM can reach all central ministries faster due to physical proximity. But in short: In Union Territories(Delhi), the Constitution itself has converted the Chief Minister into a rubber stamp.
The Supreme Court said
The Supreme Court said that Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor has more power than the governor of a state as he does not have to act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers all the time.
It said that the governor of a state has to more or less active on the aid and advice of the government expected in the case of discretion that could be exercised by the office.
The Delhi government claimed that the lieutenant governor cannot govern Delhi, has no role in the affairs of the national capital. It is only the council of ministers, headed by the chief minister, which can govern, it said.