The Supreme Court has rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the law that establishes the pre-eminence of the Lieutenant Governor (LG) over the elected government in Delhi regarding control over services. The court stated that it is already seized of a similar plea filed by the Delhi government and therefore, a fresh PIL was not required.
Key points to note:
•The PIL was filed by lawyer Mukesh Kumar in his personal capacity.
•A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and Manoj Misra refused to entertain the PIL.
•The bench noted that the Delhi government had already challenged the amended law, and no further PIL was necessary.
•The court suggested that it may consider imposing a cost on the petitioner, leading to the withdrawal of the PIL.
•The court clarified that its decision would not impact the earlier petition filed by the Delhi government, which is currently pending.
The central government recently passed the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill 2023, also known as the Delhi Services Bill, granting the Lieutenant Governor sweeping control over service matters in Delhi. The bill became law after receiving the President’s assent.
The Supreme Court had earlier referred the Delhi government’s plea challenging the Centre’s May 19 ordinance, which transferred control over services from the city government to the LG, to a five-judge constitution bench.
The May 19 ordinance led to a fresh conflict between the Delhi government and the Centre regarding administrative control.
The matter remains pending in the Supreme Court, and the court had allowed the Delhi government to amend its petition following the enactment of the new law. This decision by the Supreme Court maintains the focus on the ongoing legal battle over control and governance in the national capital.