Con­sti­tu­tion does not say Delhi is cap­i­tal: Govt in SC

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES CITY | CAPITAL CHOKE - @times­group.com

New Delhi: The Arvind Ke­jri­wal gov­ern­ment on Tues­day put an un­ex­pected ques­tion to the Supreme Court: Has the Con­sti­tu­tion of In­dia or any law passed by Par­lia­ment de­clared Delhi as the cap­i­tal of In­dia?

Ar­gu­ing for Delhi gov­ern­ment in its ef­fort to carve out spe­cific ar­eas for un­hin­dered ex­er­cise of its ex­ec­u­tive power, se­nior ad­vo­cate Indira Jais­ing told a bench of Chief Jus­tice Di­pak Misra and Jus­tices A K Sikri, A M Khan­wilkar, D Y Chan­drachud and Ashok Bhushan that there was no ref­er­ence in the Con­sti­tu­tion or in any law that Delhi was the cap­i­tal of In­dia.

“Cap­i­tal is not de­fined by any law. To­mor­row, the Cen­tre can de­cide to move the cap­i­tal to some­where else. The Con­sti­tu­tion also does not say the cap­i­tal is to be Delhi. We know that the Bri­tish moved the cap­i­tal from Cal­cutta to Delhi. There is Na­tional Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory of Delhi Act but it does not con­sti­tute Delhi as the cap­i­tal of In­dia,” she said. The bench did not com­ment.

Jais­ing said the cru­cial ques­tion be­fore the bench was whether there could be two com­mands over NCT — Delhi gov­ern­ment and the Union gov­ern­ment. “I am not claim­ing that Delhi is a state as it has an as­sem­bly and a coun­cil of min­is­ters headed by the chief min­is­ter. But like the ex­ec­u­tive pow­ers of the states and the Cen­tre are de­fined and made exclusive, a sim­i­lar so­lu­tion needs to be found for Delhi,” she said.

She said there has to be a di­vi­sion of ex­ec­u­tive power be­tween Cen­tre and Delhi gov­ern­ment so as to en­able the Ke­jri­wal gov­ern­ment to func­tion smoothly unim­peded by the Cen­tre, at least in the field of so­cial wel­fare sub­jects like women’s wel­fare, em­ploy­ment, ed­u­ca­tion, san­i­ta­tion and health­care.

The bench said the Con­sti­tu­tion pro­vided for three dif­fer­ent lists that enu­mer­ate the sub­jects on which the Cen­tre and the states could leg­is­late. “All states have to work in co­op­er­a­tion with the Cen­tre. No leg­is­la­tion in­di­cated ver­ti­cal di­vi­sion of ex­ec­u­tive power,” it said.

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