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LG-Delhi govt power tussle: ACB to come under LG, rules SC; split verdict on control of services referred to larger bench

Earlier on November 1, the apex court bench comprising justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan had reserved its verdict on the petitions challenging the notifications issued by the Centre and the Delhi government.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: February 14, 2019 12:13 IST
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Supreme Court/PTI

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) will come under the Lieutenant Governor (LG), however another key issue of 'Services' was referred to a larger bench of the apex court, in connection with the long continuing power tussle with the Delhi government.

The two-judge bench, however, had a split verdict on the jurisdiction of Centre or Delhi government over appointment and transfer of bureaucrats in Delhi. 

Justice AK Sikri held that the transfers of posting of Joint Secretary and above officers are in the domain of LG while other officers fall under Delhi govt, however, in case of difference of opinion, view of LG to prevail. Anti Corruption Bureau to come under LG.

Justice Sikri also held that GNCTD can appoint public prosecutors. Commission of Inquiry will come under the LG while Electricity Board will come under the Delhi government. The top court also unanimously held that the Centre has the power to set up Inquiry Commission.

The top court was hearing a batch of petitions challenging various notifications including on control of services and power of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

Earlier on November 1, the apex court bench comprising justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan had reserved its verdict on the petitions challenging the notifications issued by the Centre and the Delhi government.

During the hearings, the Centre had told the apex court that the Lieutenant Governor (LG) has the power to regulate services in Delhi.

It had also said that the powers are delegated to the administrator of Delhi and the services can be administered through him.

Unless the President of India expressly directs, the LG, who is the administrator of Delhi, cannot consult the Chief Minister or the Council of Ministers, it had said.

The Delhi government had told the apex court on October 4 last year that it wanted its petitions relating to governance of the national capital to be heard soon as it did not want "stalemate to continue in administration".

The Delhi government had 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.

The five-judge bench had on July 4, last year 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.

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.

On September 19, last year, the Centre had told the apex court that administration of Delhi cannot be left to the Delhi government alone and emphasised that it has an "extraordinary" position by virtue of being the country's capital.

The Centre had told court that a five-judge constitution bench of the apex court had categorically held that Delhi cannot be accorded the status of a state.

The Centre had contended that one of the basic issues was that whether the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) has the legislative and executive powers so far as 'services' were concerned.

"Delhi has an extraordinary position as it is the capital of the country," it had said.

It said that the national capital houses several institutions of vital importance like Parliament and the Supreme Court and foreign diplomats also resides here.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had been at loggerheads with incumbent LG Anil Baijal and his predecessor Najeeb Jung. Kejriwal had accused both of them of preventing the functioning of his government at the behest of the BJP-led central government. 

FULL VIDEO:

(With PTI inputs)

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