Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday, 14 February, that the Supreme Court's order on the power tussle between the AAP government and the lieutenant governor was against the people of Delhi.
He said that the BJP exercises more power in the national capital than the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, despite winning only three seats in the Assembly.
In its verdict on Thursday, a two-judge bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan agreed that the Anti-Corruption Bureau and setting up of an inquiry commission fall under the L-G’s control, while the Delhi government has jurisdiction over electricity boards, land revenue matters and appointment of public prosecutors.
The top court, however, was split over who controls ‘services’, and has referred the matter to a larger bench.
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SC to Pronounce Judgment on Control of Services in Delhi
The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on various petitions regarding the power tussle between the Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor, representing the centre.
A bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan will deliver a verdict on which of the two power centres in the national capital holds jurisdiction over services like posting and transfer of bureaucrats, power of Anti-Corruption Bureau, among others.
During the hearings, the Centre had told the apex court that the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) has the power to regulate services in Delhi.
The centre also said that unless the President of India expressly directs, the L-G, who is the administrator of Delhi, cannot consult the Chief Minister or the Council of Ministers.
SC Bench Assembles, Judges Deliver Split Verdict
A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan is pronouncing the judgment. As per reports, the verdict is so far split over whether the Delhi government or the L-G has the jurisdiction over the appointment and transfer of bureaucrats in Delhi.
Justice Sikri Reads His Opinion
Justice AK Sikri has held that L-G has the power of transferring and posting officers of and above the rank of joint secretary, while other officers are under the control of Delhi government, Bar and Bench reported. However, in the case of difference of opinion, the L-G’s view will prevail, he added.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau will be under control of the L-G, Sikri said.
Justice Bhushan Says 'Services' Completely Outside Delhi Govt's Purview
Contrary to Justice Sikri's view on transfers and postings of bureaucrats, Justice Bhushan has held that ‘services’ are completely outside the purview of the Delhi government.
Who Controls What?
According to the SC judgment, the electricity department, revenue department, and posting and transfer of public prosecutors fall under the Delhi government’s control. However, in a case of difference of opinion, the LG's view will prevail.
The SC bench also unanimously held that the Centre has the power to set up an inquiry commission under the Commission of Inquiry Act.
It also said that the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) will be under the Centre’s command, and the Delhi government has no police powers when it comes to the ACB.
However, the power to appoint public prosecutor is with the Delhi government, the SC bench ruled. Revision of minimum rates of agricultural land will also be under the purview of the Delhi government, but the L-G can refer to the President.
'L-G Can Form Opinion on Any Matter, Not Every Trifling Matter': SC
The Supreme Court held that the L-G can form an opinion on any matter. It, however, clarified later that ‘any’ does not mean every ‘trifling matter’. The Apex court further said that the L-G should not intervene routinely but only in matters fundamental to Delhi.
It also said that the L-G should not hold on to files but honour the wisdom of the Cabinet.
'Lack of Clarity in SC Judgment Unfortunate': AAP
Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party said it was unfortunate that there was no clarity in the Supreme Court's split verdict on who controls services in the National Capital Territory.
“People of Delhi will continue to suffer,” AAP Spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj told reporters after the Supreme Court referred the issue of clarity on division of powers between the Delhi government and the Centre to a larger bench.
'AAP Should Accept Order Humbly': Delhi BJP Welcomes SC Verdict
The Delhi unit of the BJP on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court judgment and said it removes ambiguities in the powers of the Delhi government.
There should no scope for "confusion or conflict" and the AAP government should humbly accept the Supreme Court judgement, Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta said.
'BJP More Powerful Than AAP Despite Just 3 Seats': Kejriwal Slams SC Order
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressed a press conference on the Supreme Court verdict over control of services and power of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in Delhi. Kejriwal said that the BJP is exercising more power in the national capital than the ruling AAP, despite winning just 3 seats in the Assembly elections.
He also said the SC order was against the people of Delhi and democracy.
'Power Doesn't Depend on Number of Seats': Sheila Dikshit Slams AAP
Former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, slammed CM Arvind Kejriwal’s remarks about the former government having more power, saying that the Constitution of India has defined the power that Delhi has, its not unlimited. She also said that power does not depend on how many seats you have, urging the CM to make changes if need be.