Delhi ration scheme : Delhi government and the LG office did not comment on the court’s observation

Delhi ration scheme : Delhi government and the LG office did not comment on the court’s observation

A bench of acting chief justice Vipin Sanghi and justice Jasmeet Singh scrapped the policy while holding that it did not have LG’s approval.

The Delhi high court on Thursday said that despite fundamental differences between the Delhi government and the L-G over the former’s doorstep ration delivery scheme, none of them referred the matter to the President, as provided by the Constitution.

A bench of acting chief justice Vipin Sanghi and justice Jasmeet Singh scrapped the policy while holding that it did not have LG’s approval. However, it allowed the Delhi government to implement the policy with foodgrains other than those allocated by the Centre under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

The bench observed in its judgment that Delhi being a Union Territory, the chief minister is obligated to communicate the decision of his cabinet to the LG and in case, there is a difference of opinion, or a disapproval, then the matter must be referred to the President under the proviso to Article 239AA (4) of the Constitution.

Delhi ration scheme Court order

Article 239AA(4) says that “provided that in the case of difference of opinion between the LG and his ministers on any matter, the LG shall refer it to the President for decision and act according to the decision given thereon by the President and pending such decision it shall be competent for the LG in any case where the matter, in his opinion, is so urgent that it is necessary for him to take immediate action, to take such action or to give such direction in the matter as he deems necessary”.

“In our view, the Chief Minister was not correct in concluding that the approval of the Central government is neither mandated, nor necessary, under Section 12(2)(h) of the NFSA, or that the matter need not have been referred to the President under proviso to Article 239AA(4), despite the expressed difference of opinion by the LG,” the court said in its 174-page judgment.

The bench, however, also said that according to Article 239AA(4) the LG could also have referred the matter for the decision of the President directly, if the council of ministers headed by the chief minister were not raising the issue with the President.

“Even when the lieutenant governor requires the chief minister to make a reference to the President, it is his reference on the difference of opinion,” the court said.

The court noted that there was a “misunderstanding on the part of chief minister” Arvind Kejriwal in writing a note to the LG on June 16, 2021 saying that the matter was not for “approval” but the scheme has attained “finality” while wondering as to how the scheme had attained finality when the LG had not accorded his consent to it.

The Delhi government and the LG office did not comment on the court’s observation.

Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/delhi-ration-scheme-neither-lg-nor-govt-referred-it-to-president-says-hc-101652984397861.html

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