SC refuses to short-cut HC on Delhi's jurisdiction plea

The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a plea by the Delhi government seeking direction that the Delhi High Court not pass an order on its plea regarding the interpretation of powers of the Delhi government vis-a-vis Centre as it does not have jurisdiction.

The apex court said the high court has already reserved the order on the issue and the Delhi government can come in for appeal after the verdict. The court said that there was no reason to interfere in the matter at this stage.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra observed, "Why should we tell the high court to decide only jurisdiction and not on merits of the case? I perceive a sense of anomaly. You should have withdrawn the petition from the Delhi High Court first.

"You knocked on the doors of the high court under Article 226. The court has reserved its judgement. Let the court below decide whether it has jurisdiction or not," the bench said, adding, "The high court has its own independent judicial perception. It is a constitutional dispute... The high court has the constitutional authority to adjudicate.''

The Delhi government claimed that only the Supreme Court can hear disputes between the centre and a state. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi opposed the petition of the Delhi government and called it "completely misconceived".

Senior advocate, Indira Jaising, appearing for the Delhi government, referred to constitutional provisions dealing with the powers of Delhi as a union territory. "Delhi has an elected and responsible government and judgment of this court applies in this case that the Lt Governor has to run the administration on the aid and advice of the chief minister and council of ministers," Jaising said, adding that this dispute was exclusively triable by the apex court.