Lt. Governors: India

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Cannot claim immunity: CIC

The Times of India, May 26 2016

The Central Information Commission (CIC) directed the lieutenant governor of Delhi and home ministry to disclose the report on the basis of which the Delhi assembly was dissolved in November 2014 saying the LG does not enjoy immunity from such disclosure. Information commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said the office of LG cannot claim immunity given under Article 163(3) which says that “the question whether any , and if so what, advice was tendered by ministers to the governor shall not be inquired into in any court“.

“The commission agrees with the contention of appellant that Article 163(3) of the Constitution does not apply to Union Territory of Delhi, which could be invoked only in case of a full-fledged state and not to the UT with assembly like Delhi,“ the information commissioner said.

Acharyulu said there is no mention of any provision like protecting the advice given to LG as available under Article 74(2) (regarding President) and Article 163(3) (regarding governors).

“More over Article 163(3) applies specifically to the `advice of a council of ministers to the governor'. The information sought here is a report sent by the UT administrator to Union government or President.

“Article 163 has nothing to with this communication.Even in those cases where Article 163(3) applies, there is no immunity from disclosure. There is no bar against citizen from having a copy of the advicereport of LG to Union government,“ the information commissioner said.

He directed the office of LG and the home ministry to provide certified copies of report along with all other papers sent by the LG to the Union government, within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order.

In November 2014, LG Najeeb Jung had recommended to the President dissolution of the Delhi assembly after major players--BJP , AAP and Congress--expressed “inability“ to form government and preferred holding of fresh polls.

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