Claiming the court order states the elected government has no power to transfer officers, Kejriwal sought to know how the AAP dispensation will work and said the chief minister of Delhi does not have power to appoint even a peon. "We have been suffering for the last four years. We cannot set up mohalla clinics... What sort of democracy is it?," he posed. It (court order) says a party (AAP) with 67 seats cannot transfer officers and a party (BJP) with three seats can do it, Kejriwal, who is also the AAP national convener, alleged. "How will the government function if officers do not obey ministers? The solution to the problem lies with the people of Delhi. They should give all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi to the AAP. We will force the government at the Centre to given full statehood to Delhi," he said.
A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court while hearing the Delhi government versus Centre case was split on services but agreed on Centre having control over the Anti-Corruption Bureau in Delhi, in a major setback for Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party. The services issue has been sent to a larger bench.
Addressing a press conference after the SC verdict, Kejriwal said the apex court's ruling on division of powers is "unfortunate" and "injustice to people" of Delhi. "The judgment is against the constitution and democracy. We will seek legal remedies," he said. In a jolt to the AAP dispensation, the Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a split verdict on the contentious issue of control of services in the National Capital Territory in the tussle between the Delhi government and the Centre and referred the matter to a larger bench.
While Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal terming the judgment to be against "constitution and democracy" said the AAP dispensation will seek legal remedies, party spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj asserted that there has been no decision on services even four years after the formation of the AAP government. Bhardwaj alleged the Centre appoints such officers who create hurdles in the works of the AAP government.
"If a government can't even transfer its officers, how is it supposed to function? The party that has 67 seats doesn't have the rights but the party who won 3 seats has those rights," says Arvind Kejriwal.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on opposition alliance: Hamare man mein desh ko leke bahut jyada chinta hai... Usi wajah se hum lalayit hain. Unhone (Congress) lagbhag mana kar diya hai pic.twitter.com/gWdpheyY4J— ANI (@ANI) February 14, 2019
SC Verdict Unfortunate: Kejriwal | Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal today dubbed the Supreme Court verdict as "unfortunate" and said that it was an injustice to the residents. "We respect the apex court but this is injustice to the people. What kind of democracy is this? How can Delhi progress if the government is forced to sleep at L-G's office and protest to get developmental work done," he said.
Senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh hit out at the apex court judgment on Delhi-Centre power tussle.
क्या मोदी जी की मर्ज़ी के ख़िलाफ़ सुप्रीम कोर्ट निर्णय नही देता? राफ़ेल में खुला भ्रष्टाचार हुआ केन्द्र सरकार ने SC में झूठ बोला पर SC ख़ामोश ? CBI पर SC ने निर्णय दिया या मज़ाक़ किया? दिल्ली की करोड़ों जनता की भावनाओं के साथ खिलवाड़ किया सुप्रीम कोर्ट है या नायब तहसीलदार कोर्ट?— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) February 14, 2019
BJP Welcomes Judgment | The Delhi unit of the BJP on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court judgement 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. "We welcome the Supreme Court decision removing ambiguities in the powers of the Delhi govt. After this verdict there shouldn't be any scope for confusion or conflict. The Delhi govt should humbly accept it & govern the capital as it was being done before they had come to power," he said on Twitter.
SC Delivers Split Verdict on Control of Services, Refers it to Larger Bench | The Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a split verdict on the contentious issue of control of services in the National Capital Territory in the tussle between the Delhi government and the Centre and referred the matter to a larger bench. A two-judge bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, however, agreed on their views on disputes pertaining to the anti-corruption branch, setting up of commission of inquiry, control over electricity boards, land revenue matters and appointment of pubic prosecutors. The apex court also upheld the Centre's notification that its employees cannot be probed in corruption cases by ACB of Delhi government. The top court also said that instead of the LG, the Delhi government will have the right to appoint public prosecutors or law officers.
After Supreme Court's decision to let the matter on services be decided by a larger bench, Aam Aadmi Party posted their reaction on Twitter with a short clip of Sunny Deol's popular dialogue from Damini.
Justice Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan deliver the judgment on Delhi-Centre power tussle.
Delhi Govt vs Central Govt. Justice Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan deliver the judgment on Anti Corruption Bureau and other issues. Here is a gist of the judgment. #JusticeSikri @AamAadmiParty @ArvindKejriwal @BJP4India @INCIndia @narendramodi @msisodia pic.twitter.com/VNIINfk9q2— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) February 14, 2019
"Supreme Court took decision on 6 issues. SC ruled in favour of Centre in 4 of them. Anti-Corruption Bureau, posting and transfer of Grade 1 and Grade 2 officers, Commission of Inquiry, falls under Centre's jurisdiction," said lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay
Lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay on Delhi govt vs LG matter: Electricity department, Revenue department, posting & transfer of Grade 3 & Grade 4 officer will come under Delhi government. In case of difference of opinion, LG's view will prevail https://t.co/NKMaDOuhLX— ANI (@ANI) February 14, 2019
Judgment in short:
1. Services: to be decided by larger bench
2. Anti corruption bureau: with Centre
3. Appropriate government under the Commission of Enquiry Act: with Centre
4. Electricty reforms: with Delhi government
5. Revision of minimum rates of agricultural land: with Delhi government but L-G can refer to President
6. Power to appoint Special PP: with Delhi government
Justice Sikri said that power to approrpriate government under the Commission of Enquiry Act is with the Centre, while powers under Electricty Reforms Act, Revision of minimum rates of agriculture land will be with Delhi government. However, LG can refer issued on the latter to the President. The Delhi government will also have power to appoint Special Public prosecutor, he said.
CLICK TO READ | Delhi-Centre Row: AAP Govt Requests Supreme Court to Pass Verdict at Earliest
Justice Sikri, who headed the two-judge bench which reserved the order, said the judgement will be delivered 'very soon'. Justice Ashok Bhushan was the other member of the bench.
It said that the national capital houses several institutions of vital importance like Parliament, the Supreme Court and foreign diplomats also resides here. The Aam Aadmi Party government has told the apex court that its functioning was "completely paralysed" and it cannot order transfer or posting of officers despite the constitution bench verdict on the national capital's administration.
In the landmark verdict, it had unanimously held that Delhi cannot be accorded the status of a state but clipped the powers of the Lieutenant Governor (LG), saying he has no "independent decision making power" and has to act on the aid and advice of the elected government. "Delhi has an extraordinary position as it is the capital of the country," it said.
The Delhi government had earlier told the top court that it wanted to know where it stands with regard to the administration in view of the Constitution bench verdict of apex court on July 4, last year. The five-judge bench had laid down broad parameters for governance of the national capital, which has witnessed a power struggle between the Centre and the Delhi government since the Aam Aadmi Party came to power in 2014.
On November 1, the apex court had reserved its verdict on the plea against notifications related to control over services, setting up of Commission of Inquiry and power of Anti-corruption Bureau in Delhi. During the earlier hearing of the pleas, the Centre had told the court that the Lieutenant Governor (LG) has the power to regulate services in Delhi.
CLICK TO READ | What is at Stake as Supreme Court Picks Winner in AAP-Centre Power Tussle Today
The AAP government's tenure in Delhi has been marked by uncharacteristic dissonance between the elected government and its bureaucrats. The Supreme Court is likely to pass a judgment today on the distribution of powers.
The ACB is the state government’s vigilance department and gets its officers from the Delhi police, while having the power to register FIRs on alleged corruption cases, and make arrests. After the July 2018 judgment, deputy CM Manish Sisodia had noted that the apex court had not given “any clarity” on the ACB issue. The Delhi government argues that since the ACB is the government’s vigilance department, it needs to be controlled by the Delhi government. The Centre, though, argues that since the ACB is a police station, with the power lodge FIRs, it needs to be under the L-G, since ‘law and order’ falls under its purview.
It is key to remember that AAP is a party formed on an anti-corruption plank. This, more than anything else, was the rationale that drove the formation of the party. Within days of coming to power, the AAP looked to “strengthen the Delhi’s Anti Corruption Branch (ACB)” that had, so far, worked under the Delhi government. A new helpline was launched and a total of 32,489 calls were answered in the first 100 hours, a series of arrests of government officials followed.
A Constitution bench on July 4, 2018, had asked both authorities to practice "collaborative federalism". The court had restricted the jurisdiction of the L-G to matters of land, police and public order. On other issues, the L-G had to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers of the elected government of Delhi.
In July 2018, a five-judge Constitution bench of the court had laid down broad parameters on the basis of which the capital would be governed.
The court had said that Delhi can’t be accorded the status of a state, but added that the L-G doesn’t have any “independent decision making power” and must act on the aid and advice of the elected government. What the court didn’t do is get into the individual challenges, pertaining to the distribution of powers in separate areas and left that to future adjudication.
Soon after, the L-G issued a statement, underlining that the L-G would continue to ‘control’ services — effectively the power to transfer and control the postings of different bureaucrats — and cited a May 21, 2015 notification as evidence. Since then, AAP has cried foul, maintaining that the government has “effectively been paralysed”, while lambasting the BJP government at the Centre for “openly flouting the Supreme Court order”.
The LG argued that the AAP government had “erroneously” interpreted the Supreme Court order and that the division of power would come only after the appeals pending before the court’s Regular Bench are disposed off.
The Constitution bench led by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra had urged the lieutenant governor and the Arvind Kejriwal government to show "mature statesmanship" in their mutual relationship while coining the "collaborative federalism" to define the inter-dependence between the two.
“Governments in their respective pursuits of development. The Union government and the State governments should endeavour to address the common problems with the intention to arrive at a solution by showing statesmanship, combined action and sincere cooperation. In collaborative federalism, the Union and the State governments should express their readiness to achieve the common objective and work together for achieving it,” the Constitution Bench had observed.
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