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Executive power over Delhi: SC delivers split verdict


New Delhi, Feb 14: In a major setback for Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, 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 Anti-Corruption Branch in Delhi. The matter will be referred to a three judge Bench for a final decision.

Split verdict over Delhi vs L-G Power tussle

he judgment was delivered by a Bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan. While reading out the verdict, Justice AK Sikri said transfers of Joint Secretary and above officers are in the domain of the LG while other officers fall under the Delhi government. However, in case of difference of opinion, view of LG to prevail. Anti Corruption Bureau to come under LG.

Justice Sikri said that commission of inquiry should be under the Central government. "Mutual respect and cooperation is required. Both should realise they are here to serve the people," he said.

Issues pertaining to the Electricity Reforms Act, revision of minimum rates of agricultural land, and the power to appoint a special public prosecutor would all lie within the NCT government's domain, the Court held.

"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.

Earlier, a bench of justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan had reserved orders in nine petitions that were filed before the court in connection with the dispute. The hearing had concluded on November 1, 2018.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has long been at loggerheads with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and his predecessor Najeeb Jung over who holds the power strings in the national capital.

The Aam Aadmi Party has maintained that it has had little to no say in the capital's governance, despite being voted to power by a clear mandate.

AAP's Delhi government and the BJP-led national coalition have been fighting pitched battles over sharing of power soon after Arvind Kejriwal returned as chief minister in 2015. AAP had won 67 of 70 seats in Delhi assembly, reducing the BJP to only three. Arvind Kejriwal alleges that the BJP-led government at the Centre has since been exacting revenge, withdrawing its powers and blocking decision taken by the AAP government.

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