Can the discretionary role of Lieutenant Governor be like a State Governor?.(250 Words)

A state governor receives “aid and advice” from a council of ministers. He may not accept such advice and his discretion is not amenable to challenge. The LG does not enjoy similar discretion.

After receiving aid and advice from Delhi’s council of ministers under Article 239AA(4), the LG may or may not agree. If he disagrees on “any matter”, he is bound to refer it to the President for a decision. Pending such a decision, the LG can, in case of an urgency, take immediate action. Thus, the LG’s discretion is circumscribed by the President’s final decision.

Article 239AA(6) that make the council of ministers collectively responsible to the legislative assembly. The council is responsible for the administration of Delhi in every matter in which the legislative assembly is competent to enact law. This does not, however, preclude the council from advising the LG in matters beyond. True, in such matters, the LG is not bound by ministerial advice. But if the LG differs, he has to refer the matter to the President.

Under the Constitution, a state minister holds office “during the pleasure of the governor”, while a central minister holds office “during the pleasure of the President”. The Constitution gives limited powers to the LG and the council of ministers, with overriding powers remaining with the President.

Article 239 stipulates that the Union territory shall be administered by the President, acting, to such an extent, as he thinks fit, through an administrator to be appointed by him. The administrator appointed for Delhi is constitutionally designated as the lieutenant governor.

The role of LG is no more than that of afacilitator of administration under the President’s control. In discharging this narrow, but delicate, constitutional function, the LG can neither bypass the council of ministers nor can he ignore the office of the President.

There is a world of difference between the powers of a governor and those of an LG. Under Article 154, the executive power of a state is vested in the governor and is exercised by him either directly or through officers under him. A governor can grant pardon, commute sentences of convictions, etc. The governor’s discretion under Article 163(2) cannot be questioned and the advice tendered by state ministers to him cannot be inquired into in any court. The LG of Delhi has no similar powers or discretion.

The suffix of ‘governor’ that follows ‘lieutenant’ is highly misleading. Every Union territory is administered by the President through an administrator.

The 69th Amendment Act, 1991, changed the ‘Union Territory of Delhi’ to the ‘National Capital Territory of Delhi’ (NCTD), and gave the designation of ‘lieutenant governor’ to its presidential administrator.

The constitutional amendment merely inflated the title of Delhi’s administrator without conferring him any gubernatorial powers.

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