In a dispute between the Centre and the Delhi government, the Supreme Court held on Thursday, 11 May, that the Delhi government has control over the bureaucracy in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.
The five-judge Constitution bench led by CJI Chandrachud, however, clarified that the power of the Delhi government would not extend to the administrative services which come under land, law and order and police.
"Democratically elected government shall have control over its officers. If a democratically elected government is not allowed to control its officers and hold them to account, then its responsibility towards the legislature and public is diluted."Supreme Court
"The principle of democracy and federalism form a part of basic structure. Federalism ensures survival of diverse interests and accommodate diverse needs," it added.
The case: The bench had deliberated over a dispute between the Union and Delhi government over legislative and executive powers over who had administrative control over the officers of the various 'services' (IAS, IPS, DANICS, and DANIPS) who had been allocated to Delhi by the centre.
"This case deals with the asymmteric model of federal governance in the country. The issue is who will have the power to control administrative services in Delhi," the bench said.
The origin: The case came up in 2018 when a Constitution bench of the apex court said that the Lieutenant governor cannot act without the advice of the Council of Ministers and has to work in tandem with the NCT government.
The petitions pertaining to disputes over individual aspects, including administrative services were passed on to a two-judge bench based on the Constitution bench verdict.
However, the two judges on the Bench - Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan - disagreed over 'services' under Schedule VII, List II, Entry 41 of the Constitution of India.
After the judges differed, the case related to administrative services was placed before a three-judge bench. The new bench, however, referred the case to the current Constitution Bench on the centre's request.
'The Corrupt & Inefficient Will Be Removed': Delhi CM Kejriwal
Addressing citizens after the top court's favourable verdict Kejriwal said,"The entire administrative system too will be rectified; this entire system is rotten. Officers will be transferred and posted on the basis of their performance so far."
There are some officers who, for the past few months, stalled the works of the people of Delhi. Deadwood, the corrupt, the inefficient will be be removed from good posts and will be replaced by good, honest, responsive and compassionate ones," he added.
"There are many officers who were feeling suffocated because they wanted to work -- all these officers will get the opportunity to work, to perform," he concluded.