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Mandate of people must be respected by Lt Governor, says Delhi High Court

Amid growing hostility between the Central and Delhi governments over powers in the national capital, the Delhi High Court on Monday said the Lt Governor must act on the ‘aid and advice of the council of ministers’ and that ‘mandate of the people must be respected by the Lt governor in respect of matters which fall within the domain of the Legislative assembly.’ The judge also said that Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung is “bound to act upon the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.”

The HC’s observations come at a time when the AAP government in Delhi is considering challenging the Union Home Ministry’s recent notification in court. The MHA had issued a notification underlining that the Lt Governor is the ‘administrative head’ of Delhi and ‘services’ were out of the purview of the government.

The observations were made by Justice Vipin Sanghi while dismissing the bail application filed by Delhi police head constable Anil Kumar arrested earlier this month on charges of bribery by the Delhi Anti-Corruption Branch. The arrest had led to a spat between the center and state governments regarding the jurisdiction of the ACB.

The MHA notification even reiterated that the Delhi government did not have jurisdiction to arrest central government employees. However, while dismissing the bail plea, the HC observed that the 2014 central government notification of restricting the jurisdiction of the ACB was ‘suspect.’

Last week, the Centre said that its officers could not be investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau of the Delhi government because it does not have the right to intervene in matters of land, the Delhi Police, or the appointments of key bureaucrats. The Centre also said that the Lieutenant Governor, who acts as its representative in Delhi, is not obliged to consult Mr Kejriwal on these issues.

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