SC refers individual cases against demonetisation to constitution bench

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The Supreme Court on Thursday orally observed that the lieutenant-governor of Delhi has overriding powers under Article 239AA of the Constitution and that the Delhi government could not claim absolute executive powers in the administration of the Union Territory. They could not claim protection for other amounts they might possess, he said.

The five judge constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.K. Sikri, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan said this while in its preliminary observation said that the entire scheme of the democratic governance of Delhi was tilted in favour of Lt. Governor.

Opened the arguments on behalf of the Delhi government, advocate Gopal Subramanium emphasised the special provision of Article 239 AA that grants statehood to Delhi. "All we want is the government or RBI to examine the genuineness of difficulty we had in approaching banks between November 9 and December 30 previous year and permit us to redeem the scrapped currencies in our possession, which is our hard-earned money", they said.

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The Delhi government on 31 August 2016 appealed against the Delhi high court order, declaring the L-G as the administrative head of the state.

The Constitution Bench shall also decide validity of the entire demonetization exercise of Narendra Modi-led BJP government. The existence of the LG in administrative issues was "mandatory" mentioned the apex court and the AAP government will have to adopt in the framework.

It is, however, pretty clear that regardless of the political hue of the governments in power in the State and at the Centre, maintenance of public order and security, police and land will not for the foreseeable future, if ever, be handed over to the domain of the State Government given Delhi's unique status as Capital of the Indian Union.

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