New Delhi: After a war of official notifications and public blame game, the battle between Aam Aadmi Party and Delhi’s L-G is moving to  the courtroom.

The ongoing tussle between the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government in Delhi and the Union government seems set for a protracted legal battle after the Supreme Court on Friday lobbed the case to the Delhi High Court.

The Supreme Court has asked the Delhi High Court to hear the AAP government versus Centre’s case ‘independently’ on merit without getting ‘influenced by any outsider.

Supreme Court advocate Sunil Mathews said, “As of now, the case has been shifted to the high court. The SC hasn’t stayed the MHA notification (which asserted the Lieutenant Governor’s supremacy). The Centre might have a little upper hand in this case, but nothing can be said at present. From the orders of the SC and the HC it seems that tussle would now be in the courtrooms for quite some time. As the matter is now subjudice, both the governments would be restrained in communication both in public and with the media. Whatever, now happens, will be in the court.”

Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung (left) and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. ReutersDelhi L-G Najeeb Jung (left) and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. Reuters

Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung (left) and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. Reuters

The Supreme Court has also asked the Delhi government to reply in three weeks on the Centre’s plea for a stay on the High Court order holding its notification limiting power of the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) as ‘suspect’. Similarly, the Delhi HC has also asked the Centre to inform the court six weeks about the administrative pattern in other Union Territories and how Delhi had been functioning in the past under the National Capital Territory (NCT) Act.

“It’ll take time for the issue to be sorted out in the court. If the Delhi government wishes, it can again approach the SC,” said Mehmood Pracha, a senior advocate at Legal Axis Attorneys & Solicitors’ firm. Delhi BJP spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay concurred.

Meanwhile, striking a working relationship between the L-G and the Delhi government, and to keep work in progress, an interim arrangement has been chalked out. It proposes that the government would send its decisions, including appointments of bureaucrats, to the L-G for evaluation, to which the latter may disagree and send the proposal back to the government. If neither side backs down, the President of India would take the call.

While, the HC judge didn’t agree to Kejriwal’s plea to strike down the notification that makes the L-G the final authority in administrative matters, he said the L-G was entitled to review decisions.

Responding to the HC order, AAP MLA Somnath Bharti, also a lawyer, said, “The HC directed that the CM’s orders be sent to the L-G under the provisions of law and the NCT Act. Constitution has been upheld.”

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in a press conference said, “We’ve no intentions to run the Delhi government through anyone. Let them run the government. We are not against anyone, but it’s our responsibility to uphold the constitutional provisions. Everyone should remain within the framework of the Constitution.”

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AAP vs LG row is far from over: After public blame game, it’s courtroom war