The Delhi government has filed a petition to the Supreme Court to quash the nomination of 10 members to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi by the Lieutenant Governor. The plea argues that the LG nominated the members without the “aid and advice” of the elected dispensation and its council of ministers. The bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala will hear the plea on Monday. The top court had previously sought a response from the office of lieutenant governor on March 29.
In February, the top court had ensured the holding of poll for mayor and deputy mayor by making it clear that the 10 nominated members of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi cannot vote in the mayoral election. The plea also seeks a direction to the LG office to “nominate members to the MCD under Section 3(3)(b)(i) of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act… in accordance with the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers”.
The petition claims that neither the DMC (Delhi Municipal Commission) Act nor any other provision of law says anywhere that such nomination is to be made by the administrator in his discretion. It highlights that according to the provision of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, apart from the elected councillors, the MCD also had to include 10 people, above 25 years of age, having special knowledge or experience in municipal administration, which were to be nominated by the administrator.
The plea argues that it is a settled position of constitutional law for the last 50 years that the powers conferred on a nominal and un-elected head of state were to be exercised only under the “aid and advice” of the council of ministers, but for some “exceptional spheres” where they were expressly required by law to act in their discretion. The petition claims that under the constitutional scheme, the LG is bound to act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers and, if there is a difference of opinion, he may refer the matter to the President and under no circumstances does he have any independent decision-making power.
The petition has been filed by the elected government of the NCT of Delhi seeking inter alia quashing of orders dated…, and consequent gazette notifications …, whereby the Lieutenant Governor has illegally appointed 10 (ten) nominated members to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi on his own initiative, and not on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. The plea argues that this is the first time such a nomination has been made by the LG completely bypassing the elected government, thereby arrogating to an un-elected office a power that belongs to the duly elected government.