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How to rule Delhi

The SC clarifies an elected government cannot be undermined by an unelected administrator

In ruling that the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi has no independent decision-making power, and has to act mainly on the aid and advice of the Council(परिषद्) of Ministers, the Supreme Court has restored(सुधारना/लौटाना) the primary role played by the “representative(प्रतिनिधि) government” in the National Capital Territory(राज्य/मक़ाम) . Though seen as a Union Territory, Delhi was created as a separate(अलग/ख़ास) category, with an elected(निर्वाचित/चुने हुए) Assembly with powers to enact laws in all matters falling under the State and Concurrent(समवर्ती ) lists, with the exception(आपत्ति/अपवाद) of public order, police and land. This gave it a status higher than other UTs. The demand for full statehood(राज्य का दर्जा/नागरिकता) has been around for many years now, but after the Aam Aadmi Party came to power the constitutional(संवैधानिक) tussle(संघर्ष) between the twotiers(स्तरों) of government has become an acrimonious(उग्र/चिड़चिड़ापन) battle(लड़ाई) between AAP and the BJP at the Centre. Until now, the situation(परिस्थिति) was tilted(झुकना) in favour of the Centre because of the Lt. Governor’s claim(दावा/मांग) that he had the authority to refer(भेजना/सूचित करना) any matter to the President. The proviso(नियम) that allowed him to make such a reference was used to block major(प्रमुख) decisions of the AAP regime(शासन-प्रणाली/व्यवस्था) . The Delhi High Court agreed(माना/सहमत) with this two years ago, giving the impression(प्रभाव/विचार) that administrative decisions needed the Lt. Governor’s concurrence(सहमति).

In a judgment that essentially(अनिवार्य रूप से/दर असल) reaffirms(पुष्टि करना/साबित करना) the constitutional position, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Lt. Governor has to ordinarily(आमतौर पर/सामान्यतया) act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. At the same time, it has retained(बरकरार रखा) the Lt. Governor’s powers to refer matters(मामलों) to the President for a decision. However — and this is the nub(मूलतत्त्व/सारांश) of the judgment — it has significantly circumscribed(घिरा/परिगत) this power. The power to refer “any matter” to the President no longer means “every matter”. Further, there is no requirement(आवश्यकता) of the Lt. Governor’s concurrence for any proposal(प्रस्ताव/सुझाव). The ‘reference’ clause(धारा/चरण) may give rise to conflict(संघर्ष) even now. However, the court has significantly limited its potential(क्षमता/संभावित) for mischief. It has not given an exhaustive(संपूर्ण/विस्तृत) list of matters that can be referred, but Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, in a separate but concurring(मेल खाना) opinion, has indicated(सूचित/निर्दिष्ट) that it could “encompass(घेरना/धरना) substantial issues of finance and policy which impact upon the status of the national capital or implicate(फंसाना/उलझाना) vital(महत्वपूर्ण/जीवनाधार) interests of the Union.” Every trivial(मामूली /तुच्छ) difference of opinion will not fall under the proviso. Overall, the verdict(निर्णय) is an appeal to a sense of constitutional morality(नैतिकता/सदाचार) and constitutional trust among high functionaries. It has ruled out Mr. Kejriwal’s demand of full statehood, and the critical(महत्वपूर्ण/आलोचनात्मक) powers — over police, land and public order — still remain vested with the Centre. However, the court having stressed that the elected government is the main authority in Delhi’s administration, the controversies(विवादों/) over the arbitrary(मनमाना) withholding of Cabinet decisions may end, or at least diminish(कम करना). The basic message is that an elected government cannot be undermined(कम आंका/दुर्बल करना) by an unelected(अनिर्वाचित) administrator(प्रशासक/व्यवस्थापक) . The larger one is that the Union and its units should embrace(गले मिलना/शामिल करना) a collaborative(सहयोगी ) federal (संयुक्त/संधात्मक) architecture(वास्तु-कला) for co-existence(अस्तित्व/मौजूदगी) and inter-dependence(निर्भरता/भरोसा) .

 

 

Important Vocabulary

1.Exception(आपत्ति/अपवाद
Synonyms: omission, barring, debarment, exclusion, expulsion
Antonyms: acceptance, allowance, ratification,admittal, admittance

2. Acrimonious(उग्र/चिड़चिड़ापन)
Synonyms: belligerent, bitter, caustic, petulant, rancorous
Antonyms: happy, helping, kind, mild, nice

3.Battle(लड़ाई)
Synonyms: action, assault, attack, bloodshed, bombing
Antonyms: accord, ceasefire, harmony,peace, retreat

4.Impression(प्रभाव/विचार)
Synonyms: consequence, effect, feeling, impact, reaction
Antonyms: beginning, cause, commencement, origin, question

5.Tiers(स्तरों)
Synonyms: category, layer, row, bank, class
Antonyms:disorder, disorganization

6.Concurrence(सहमति)
Synonyms: unanimity, simultaneity, synchroneity, synchronism

7.Tussle(संघर्ष)
Synonyms: brawl, fray, free-for-all, scuffle, skirmish
Antonyms: agreement, harmony, peace, accord, calm

8.Reaffirms(पुष्टि करना/साबित करना)
Synonyms: continue, extend, prolong, reaffirm, reestablish
Antonyms: destroy, finish, halt, shorten, stop

9.Circumscribed(घिरा/परिगत)
Synonyms: dowager queen, merry widow, war widow

10.Exhaustive(संपूर्ण/विस्तृत)
Synonyms: comprehensive, encyclopedic, extensive, full-scale, in-depth
Antonyms: exclusive, incomplete, incomprehensive, narrow, partial

11.Vital(महत्वपूर्ण/जीवनाधार)
Synonyms: basic, critical, crucial, decisive, fundamental
Antonyms: additional, extra, inessential, insignificant, meaningless

12.Trivial(मामूली /तुच्छ
Synonyms: commonplace, frivolous, immaterial, incidental, inconsequential
Antonyms: consequential, essential, important, major, meaningful

13.Existence(अस्तित्व/मौजूदगी)
Synonyms: continuation, presence, reality, survival, world
Antonyms: abstract, end, death, inanimateness

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