Why should “every dispute” between the Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor land in the Supreme Court, the top court observed on Friday and asked the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) to approach the high court with its grievance.
The DCPCR had approached the Supreme Court over alleged freezing of its funds.
“What is happening is, every dispute, all and sundry, between the Government of the NCT of Delhi and the Lieutenant Governor is coming here as a (Article) 226 petition,” a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said.
Article 226 of the Constitution deals with power of the high courts to issue certain writs.
The bench, also comprising Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, observed on Thursday, it dealt with a plea by Delhi government challenging Lt Governor V K Saxena’s decision to terminate the services of all civil defence volunteers working as marshals in DTC buses.
“Go to the Delhi High Court. Why should we entertain a petition under (Article) 32 here,” the bench told senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for the DCPCR.
Mr Sankaranarayanan said the plea filed by the commission was a little different from other disputes between the Delhi government and the Lt Governor which have landed before the Supreme Court so far. “This is a commission and the commission’s money has been frozen,” he said.
The CJI told him that the Supreme Court has entertained pleas dealing with broader constitutional issues. “Now go to the high court,” Justice Chandrachud said.
Mr Sankaranarayanan, while putting forth his argument, said the funds of the commission cannot be frozen. “How can six million children of the state be told that not a penny is going to come to the commission,” he said.
“That is why high courts are there,” the bench told him and asked, “Why are you bucking the Delhi High Court?” “Everything between the Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor is coming here every two days. Bus marshal scheme was discontinued and we got a petition under (Article) 32,” the CJI said.
Mr Sankaranarayanan said the DCPCR is an independent commission and the tenure of its members have come to an end. He said at present, the commission was not in a position to approach the high court afresh.
“Considering the nature of the grievance which is being addressed before this court by the DCPCR, we are of the considered view that a petition under Article 226 would be the appropriate remedy,” the bench observed.
Referring to Mr Sankaranarayanan’s submission about the end of the tenure of the members of the commission, the bench directed the Supreme Court registry to transfer these proceedings to the Delhi High Court.
While disposing of the petition, it said the plea shall be re-numbered as a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.