The Supreme Court has taken notice of a petition filed by the Delhi government, challenging the nomination of 10 members to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi by the Lieutenant Governor (LG). The plea alleges that the nominations were made without the “aid and advice” of the elected government and its council of ministers. A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala has issued a notice to the Office of Lieutenant Governor, seeking a response by April 10.
The Delhi government, led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, has not only sought the quashing of the nominations but also a direction to the LG office to nominate members to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in accordance with the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, as prescribed under the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act.
According to the plea, the LG’s nominations were made in violation of the constitutional scheme pertaining to Delhi, which requires the LG to act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers. The petition argues that the power to nominate members lies with the elected government, and the LG’s unilateral decision to appoint members bypassed the elected government, encroaching upon its authority.
The plea also highlights that the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act does not grant discretionary power to the administrator (LG) for such nominations. It emphasizes that the LG’s role should be limited to accepting proposed names recommended by the elected government or referring the matter to the President in case of a difference of opinion.
The petition contends that the LG’s nominations are “ultra vires and illegal” and should be quashed, as they were made without following the prescribed procedure. It further claims that the elected government was not allowed to propose names, and the nominations were made and notified before the departmental minister had even received the relevant file.
The Supreme Court’s decision to seek a response from the LG’s office indicates its recognition of the constitutional issues at stake in this case. The outcome of this petition will likely have significant implications for the relationship between the elected government of Delhi and the LG, clarifying the extent of their respective powers and the procedure for nominations to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.