The aftermath of Kejriwal’s resignation in New Delhi : Constitutional Issues and Electoral Peculiarities

Swapnil Tripathi

Abstract


The National Capital Territory of Delhi, is one of the two Union Territories in India that have been provided a special status of a quasi-state. Despite being a union territory it still has a legislative assembly of its own. However, due to it being the capital of the country and a union territory, the functioning of the territory is very different. Unlike other union territory, Puducherry for instance it does not have complete autonomy to pass laws on any matters in the state and concurrent list. Further, the constitution of India is silent regarding various situations surrounding Delhi, thereby leading to analogies being drawn from other states to find the answer.

One such situation is the aftermath when the chief minister of Delhi NCT resigns. Since, there is no specific article in the Constitution dealing with this particular aspect, the analysis and comparisons made, state that if after the resignation, no other political party is ready to form the majority, the Lieutenant Governor may send a report to the President, suggesting President’s rule till the next election. If President is satisfied he may proclaim President’s rule, however until then, the outgoing ministry continues to act as a caretaker government. Similar outcome happened when Arvind Kejriwal, the then Chief Minister of Delhi NCT resigned. President’s rule was invoked in Delhi, after BJP the single largest party refused to form the government.[1]

However, the AAP came back to power in the 2015 Delhi Elections and promised in his election manifesto the fulfilment of issues like, passing of Jan Lok Pal Bill, Police being under the state control and the court proceedings being recorded. However, none of them are constitutionally under the sole domain of the Delhi legislature. The passing of the proposed Jan Lok Pal requires amendments to the constitution as it involves matters outside the legislative competency of the legislature. Further, the Supreme Court has in a recent precedent held that there can be no recording of court trials, which again negates another promise of the AAP government. And lastly, Article 239AA (3) categorically bars the legislature from making laws with respect to police, therefore making it a domain outside the scope of the Delhi legislature. Therefore, some of the promises mentioned by the AAP cannot be provided within the constitutional framework unless certain changes to them are made.

 

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