Major Win For Delhi Government In Supreme Court In Tussle vs Centre
NEW DELHI: With Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) enjoying a landslide victory in a tug-of-war for power with the Centre, the Supreme Court today said it should retain control over Delhi government services and be a lieutenant governor. bound by its conclusion.
The Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the Delhi Assembly has been given the power to legislate to represent the will of the people. Stating that in a democratic form of government, the real power of administration rests with the elected government, the bench said the power of the Center in matters where the Central and State governments can legislate “is limited to ensure governance. Not usurped by the Centre”.
Disagreeing that the Delhi government had no jurisdiction over services, the judges held that only public order, police and land were excluded from its jurisdiction.
“If officers stop reporting to ministers or disobey their directions, the principle of collective responsibility will suffer,” Chief Justice TY Chandrachud ordered.
A five-judge constitution bench tackled the question of who has administrative control over transfers and posts of officers in the capital.
The judges ruled that the Lieutenant Governor, who represents the Center in Delhi, is bound by the elected government’s decision on services. The Lt. Governor is also bound to the assistance and advice of the Council of Ministers.
The Supreme Court held that though the Lt. Governor had powers, they did not mean administration over the entire Delhi government, otherwise the purpose of having a separate elected body in Delhi would be defeated.
“If a democratically elected government does not allow its officials to be controlled and held accountable, its accountability to the legislature and the public is diluted. If an official is not answerable to the government, collective accountability is diluted. If an official feels that they are isolated from the elected government, they feel that they are not accountable,” said the Chief Justice.
Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party, which celebrated victory after years of fighting with various lieutenant governors since coming to power in 2013, said, “Satyamev Jayate. Victory for Delhi. The Supreme Court’s landmark judgment sends a strong message that officials working with the Delhi government must work. The people of Delhi should work through an elected government and not by unelected usurpers.” , were parachuted in by the LG (Lt. Governor) to freeze the regime,” tweeted Aam Aadmi MP Raghav Chadha.
The landmark judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court sends a strong message that the officers working with the Delhi government should serve the people of Delhi through the elected government and not unelected usurers parachuted in by the central government to paralyze the regime, ie L.G.
— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) May 11, 2023
Hon’ble Supreme Court’s landmark judgement sends a stern message that officers working with Govt of Delhi are meant to serve people of Delhi through the elected government & not unelected usurpers parachuted by Centre to stall governance, namely LG.
— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) May 11, 2023
Arvind Kejriwal will meet the Lieutenant Governor this evening.
Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal had often complained that he could not appoint even a peon without orders from the central government. He alleged that officers disobeyed his government’s orders as it was the cadre-controlling authority of the Union Home Ministry.
The Delhi government approached the court in 2018, whose decisions were consistently rejected by the Lt. Governor, appointments were cancelled, files were not destroyed, and basic decision-making was hampered.
In a landmark judgment in 2018, the Supreme Court held that Delhi’s elected government is the boss and the lieutenant governor has no independent decision-making powers under the Constitution, except in matters related to land, police and public order.
The court held that the lieutenant governor must act with the aid and advice of the elected government and cannot act “in the way”.
In 2019, when the Supreme Court heard various appeals, a two-judge bench gave a unanimous verdict but was divided on the question of powers over the services. Accepting the Central Government’s request, the case was transferred to the Constitution Bench.
The Center had earlier sought a hearing before a larger bench. The Chief Justice said that this request should have been made at the beginning and if it had been done, the matter should have been looked at differently.