Najeeb Jung was born and raised in a highly educated family. He went on to attend St. Columba’s School, New Delhi and completed his B.A. (Hons) and M.A. in History from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. He later went on to London School of Economics to complete his M.Sc. in Social Policy and Planning in Developing Countries. He’s a retired IAS officer and was the the Vice Chancellor of Jamia Milia Islamia from 2009-2013. Jung took office as the twentieth Lt. Governor of Delhi on July 9,2013 and remained in office till December 22, 2016.
He was in the limelight recently because he was embroiled in a jurisdictional dispute with Arvind Kejriwal. The following the reasons that led to the dispute:
- Article 239 and Article 239 AA of the Constitution, as well as the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 clearly says that Delhi is a Union Territory.
- Jung opined that despite the 69th Amendment, which provides special provisions to Delhi, it still remains a Union Territory and not a full fledged state.
- Kejriwal was aware of this situation when he was elected as the CM.
- Delhi Assembly has the power to legislate on all subjects except Law and Order and Land, but these powers are not absolute. Laws made by the parliament would prevail on any matter, even if the state assembly passes another law on the same subject.
- The powers of the government under the NCTD Act, 1991 are mired in ambiguity.
- The transaction of business of the government under the NCTD rules 1993, offer the Lt. Governor wide powers to interfere. In case the Lt. Gov. is unsure he is bound to consult the central government through the Home Ministry.
- Thus, the central government may misuse this power to settle political scores with the Delhi government.
- Rule 45 of chapter 6, NCTD Act, provides that the Lt. Gov. in order to perform his executive functions will work in consultation with the Chief Minister. In case they are not on the same page he may move to the Council of Ministers.
- In case of difference of opinion during the consultation process, the Lt. Gov. can refer it to the center for the decision of the president.
- The predominant legal view is that the constitution grants limited powers to the Delhi Government. Soli Sorabjee has also opined that a lot of rules of the NCTD act are unconstitutional. The judgment of the SC is awaited in this regard.
In our opinion it is very clear that the Lt. Gov. of Delhi has been granted wide powers especially with respect to law and order and land. Also, there is room for central government intervention as the Lt. Gov. can consult the central ministry and the President of India on the question of the laws prevailing in Delhi. Another point that comes to the fore, in this regard, is the fact that all the political parties including AAP had promised statehood for Delhi, which ,as of now, hasn’t turned into a reality. The politics over the jurisdiction is what seems to have led to this tussle between the Lt. Gov. and the CM. The Supreme Court is the only medium through which this ongoing dispute can be put to rest. Also, it has to be kept in mind that if we have an assembly and a CM for Delhi, it has to be granted some powers that allows it to rule the Union territory in a smooth manner.