Case Description

This case will decide if Delhi is a Union Territory where Lt. Governor can act independently of Chief Minister or a Special State where Lt. Governor is bound by the advice of Chief Minister. It also raises constitutional questions about legislative federalism between Centre and Delhi.


The tussle between Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, and Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung, ex. Lt. Governor of Delhi, lead to a legal controversy on the status of NCT (National Capital Territory) – Is it to be treated like a Union Territory with the Lt. Governor being the executive head, or like a Special State that has an elected legislature where the Lt. Governor is bound by the advice of Chief Minister?

This case was heard by the Delhi High Court because of a series of run-ins between Arvind Kejriwal and Najeeb Jung over matters like the appointment of Chief Secretary without consulting the Lt. Governor or Chief Minister instituting corruption enquiries without Lt. Governor’s concurrence.

The confusion arises due to the special nature of Delhi where it is  Union territory with features of a State like an elected legislature. Delhi was a Union Territory but after the 69th Amendment to the Constitution in 1992, Article 239AA was added, which mandated elected Assembly for Delhi (now called the National Capital Territory, or NCT). The special provisions added through the 69th Amendment has created some confusion with respect to the jurisdiction of Delhi Government vis-a-vis the Centre.

The Delhi High Court in its judgment delivered on 4th August 2016 held that Delhi continues to be a Union territory despite the addition of Article 239AA which makes special provisions with respect to Delhi. It further held that the special provisions incorporated for Delhi do not overrule the effect of Article 239, which empowers the Lieutenant Governor to act independently of his Council of Ministers. As a result, all enquiries which were initiated by the Delhi Government without the concurrence of Lt. Governor were declared as illegal, such as the enquiries into the issuance of CNG permit to vehicles, a financial enquiry into Delhi and District Cricket Association, among others. Also, the concurrence of the Lt Governor became mandatory for all administrative decisions of Council of Ministers of Delhi.

The Delhi government has challenged this decision of the Delhi High Court. After briefly engaging with the constitutional confusion over Delhi, the 2 judge bench in February 2017, referred the matter to a constitutional bench. The matter is now listed before a bench consisting of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice A.K. Bhushan.


Should Delhi be treated like a Union Territory with the Lt. Governor as its administrative head or as a Special State where Lt. Governor is bound by the advice of Chief Minister?


Submissions by Mr Gopal Subramanium

Note on the Jurisdiction of Anti-Corruption Bureau by Gopal Subramanium

Note by Mr Shyam Divan on Article 239AA(4)

Submissions by Mr P.P. Rao

Submissions by Mr Rajeev Dhavan

Preliminary Submissions of Mr Rajeev Dhavan

Compilation of cases submitted by the Union of India

Note of Submissions on behalf of the Union of India


Read our reports of the hearings here:

Summary of Day 1 arguments

Summary of Day 2 arguments

Summary of Day 3 arguments

Summary of Day 4 arguments

Summary of Day 5 arguments

Summary of Day 6 arguments

Summary of Day 7 arguments

Summary of Day 8 arguments

Summary of Day 9 arguments

Summary of Day 10 arguments

Summary of Day 11 arguments

Summary of Day 12 arguments

Summary of Day 13 arguments

Summary of Day 14 arguments

Summary of Day 15 arguments




Latest Hearing

Judgment Pending

Mr Gopal Subramanium (appearing for Petitioner) commences arguments. Listed on 6th December, 2017 for further arguments.


Thank you for your feedback!