SC verdict on AAP-Centre power tussle updates: Manish Sisodia issues order shifting officers' appointment authority to Delhi govt

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SC verdict on AAP-Centre power tussle updates: Manish Sisodia issues order shifting officers' appointment authority to Delhi govt
  • As Kejriwal govt gears up to unroll doorstep delivery of PDS ration, expert says scheme unlikely to achieve much

    Following the Supreme Court's verdict, it appears that the Delhi government plans to push ahead with its plan of doing 'doorstep delivery' in the PDS.  The idea was mooted in light of large-scale exclusion resulting from the introduction of Aadhaar based biometric authentication (ABBA). It was heartening to see that the Delhi government was willing to acknowledge that there is a problem which needs action. Unfortunately, the proposed solution — ie door-step delivery — is unlikely to achieve anything and may end up making matters worse.

    One, it will not solve the problem of exclusion due to ABBA (largely due to biometric and connectivity failures). So long as ABBA continues, the exclusion will continue. ABBA brings no benefits in terms of reducing corruption, only increases people's hardships. Two, delivery at the doorstep of PDS beneficiaries may reduce transparency and increase corruption. Distribution of grain in a public place reduces the chances of cheating. Three, the proposal is impractical - who will deliver to people's homes, who will monitor these people, who will bear the additional costs," says Reetika Khera, Associate Professor, Economics, IIT Delhi

  • 18:41 (IST)

    Manish Sisodia releases fresh order on transfers/postings of officers

    Buoyed by the Supreme Court order earlier in the day, Delhi services department minister Manish Sisodia issued a fresh notification on transfers and appointments of Delhi bureaucrats, overriding the one issued in 2016, which gave the powers to Delhi L-G these powers. According to the new notification, all IAS, DANICS officers will be appointed by Delhi CM; Grade I and II DASS officers will be appointed by the deputy chief minister and the remaining employees by the respective departments and ministries. 

  • 17:52 (IST)

    After SC order, Arvind Kejriwal asks Cabinet to expedite implementation of doorstep delivery of ration scheme

  • 17:40 (IST)

    Puducherry CM wants SC's Delhi ruling replicated in the UT

    The Supreme Court judgment curtailing the powers of the Lt. Governor of Delhi on Wednesday prompted a demand for its replication in Puducherry, with Chief Minister V Narayanasamy warning he would launch legal proceedings if the verdict was violated. Naranaswamy, who is locked in a bitter turf war with Union Territory Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi for a long time now, hailed the Supreme Court judgement, and insisted it was "totally applicable" to Puducherry.

     
    A combative Narayanasamy warned he would file a contempt petition if the apex court order was not followed in​ Puducherry.

  • 17:39 (IST)

    Supreme Court says L-G should hold discussions to settle differences with ministers

    The top court said the approach of dialogue, settlement by discussion and suppressing conflicts by harmonious co-­existence should be adopted in cases of difference of opinion between the LG and the Council.
     
     
    "Such an approach would not only result in acceptance of the role of the Lieutenant Governor but also help the NCT of Delhi to cherish the fruits of a responsive government as intended by the 69th Constitutional Amendment," a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said.
     
     
    The bench noted that Rule 49 of the Transaction of Business of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Rules, 1993 "shows that settlement can be achieved by way of discussion. 
     
     
    "It further highlights how, by discussion and dialogue, a conflict can be avoided by adopting an ideology of harmonious co-­existence which would again be in tune with the concepts of collaborative federalism, pragmatic federalism, federal balance and constitutional objectivity."
     
    PTI

  • 17:35 (IST)

    SC decision long-winded repetition of Article 239AA 

    What the apex court has done is reiterate, in a long-winding manner with lots of legal anecdotes and ibids and references, what the special provisions of Article 239AA have said long ago. It has neither given nor taken an inch from these provisions.

    What then makes the judgment lofty is the constitutional obligation the court refers to, for both the L-G and the Delhi government in ensuring a harmonious administration of the territory. It reminds both of them to always make and see legal sense in whatever they do.

    Read the full article here 

  • 17:12 (IST)

    Around 10 percent of governance was left to the Delhi government: Manish Sisodia

    "If Sheila Dikshit had half the Delhi government, under the Modi government, around 10 percent of governance was left to the Delhi government," Manish Sisodia said.

    "According to the Constitution, the L-G does not have this much power. The L-G misinterpreted some provisions in the Constitution and began a series of political vendetta," he added.

    "Because of the Supreme Court decision, the Delhi L-G does not have to approve any files from the government," Sisodia said.

  • 17:07 (IST)

    Govt will work as per SC orders: Manish Sisodia

    ​"We will install CCTVs across Delhi soon," said Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia. "Delhi government has the power to transfer IAS officers," he added. "All decisions will be taken in accordance with the Supreme Court order," he said.

    "The Delhi L-G has obstructed work so far...We are grateful to the judiciary," Sisodia said.

  • 'Balanced judgment against anarchy and absolutism,' BJP youth wing leader on Delhi power struggle verdict 

    "I don’t see why the AAP is in such a celebratory mood. What the judgment asserts is that the Lt. Governor is bound by aid and advice of Council of Ministers, subject to the provision of Article 239 AA to refer the matter to President. He cannot act independently and has to act as per aid and advice of Council of Ministers and vice versa. The Council of Ministers has to communicate its decision to Lt. Governor, for his assent and the Lt. Governor and council of ministers have to work harmoniously. The Supreme Court also observed that there is no space for anarchy and absolutism in our Constitution and the sovereignty of people, democratic way of governance, secularism are intrinsic to Constitution. It’s a balanced judgment,” Varun Jamwal, a lawyer and member of BJP's youth wing told Firstpost

  • 16:19 (IST)

    Don't know why AAP is celebrating, says BJP's Sambit Patra 

    Sambit Patra, in a press conference, said that he finds it amusing that the Aam Aadmi Party was celebrating the Supreme Court's judgment, adding that it was clear that the party did not read the judgment in detail. 

    He said that the mere fact that the court has said that anarchism is unacceptable in Constitution, reflects on the conduct of AAP whose leader Kejriwal is a self-proclaimed anarchist. 

  • 15:42 (IST)

    Puducherry CM hails SC judgment restricting L-G's powers 

    Engaged in a running feud with Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi, Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy today hailed the Supreme Court judgment on the powers of an elected government and insisted it was "totally applicable" to the Union Territory too. 

     
    The veteran Congress leader warned he would file a contempt petition if the Lt. Governor failed to act in accordance with the apex court verdict. 
    He hoped Bedi would now change her ways. "Whoever functions contrary to the judgment now delivered by the apex court would face serious action. I myself would file a contempt petition against those failing to act in consonance with the supreme court verdict," he said. 
    PTI

  • 15:11 (IST)

    Delhi BJP says AAP should shun demand for full statehood

    Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said the verdict has "decided" that Delhi is a Union Territory and the AAP should stop raising their "political demand" for full statehood to the city.

     
    "It is now decided that Delhi is a UT. So, the AAP and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should stop raising the full statehood demand."
    Kapoor said the judgement has directed for more cooperation between the LG and the city Cabinet and that all parties concerned should respect the verdict. 
     
    PTI

  • 14:56 (IST)

    Congress' P Chidambaram welcomes SC order, asks will govt take responsibility for stretched legal battle

    "Thumping victory for representative democracy. I welcome SC judgment in the Delhi government vs L-G case," Chidambaram tweeted, as he asked that whether whoever in the government was responsible for prolonged legal battle will now take responsibility. Chidambaram also wondered why did Anil Baijal, a retired IAS officer with a 'fine record', allowed himself to be dragged in the tussle. 

  • 14:49 (IST)

    MHA says due action will be taken after studying the judgment  

    According to The Indian Expressan MHA spokesperson said that a copy of the judgment is available with them, but due action will be taken after a thorough study of the judgment. 

  • 14:46 (IST)

    FirstCut by Manjul

  • 14:39 (IST)

    Number of transfers among bureaucrats was high when chief minister had power over it, says IAS Association chief 

    Manisha Saxena, President of the IAS Association in Delhi told Firstpost: “As bureaucrats, we are clear that our dignity and safety must be ensured. We are the permanent executives and we are here as per law and the Constitution to work with whichever party comes to power”.

    On 19 June, Manish Sisodia had stated in a press conference the gazette notification passed on 21 May 2015 (which superseded the one passed on 24 September, 1998 and made it mandatory for the lieutenant governor to consult the chief minister regarding reserved subjects of police, public order, land and services) as the prime reason for the tension caused between the bureaucrats and the AAP ministers. Sisodia had said, “The efforts to stall governance have been going on for a while and reflect in the way IAS officers are pulled up if seen drinking a cup of tea with AAP politicians and are scared of being transferred. He also cited that CBI inquiries against bureaucrats trying to execute the vision of AAP are a proof of this. Saxena said that the number of transfers was high when this power rested with the chief minister.

  • Delhi power tussle leaves poor impression on minds of people, says Sheila Dikshit

    “The tussle that is going on at the top rungs of power in Delhi leaves a poor impression on the minds of the people of a democracy. Delhi is a Union Territory and not a State and Kejriwal should have studied that before entering the fight. The chief minister has to function within the do’s and don’ts of the constitution and the central government has to help him, of course within ambits. L-G has powers like police, public order, land and services under him. Arvind Kejriwal is trying to change everything but my question to him is whether he’s managed to execute fully those powers that already rest with him," Sheila Dikshit, longest serving Chief Minister of Delhi, from 1998 to 2013, told Firstpost.

  • 13:55 (IST)

    Important conclusions of the Supreme Court on Delhi power tussle

  • 13:53 (IST)

    Schemes that are likely to finally get clearance

    The Delhi Cabinet ministers will meet at 4 pm to discuss "critical projects of public importance which were blocked so far." Since coming to power, AAP has accused the L-G of stalling several key schemes. With the Supreme Court verdict clarifying on the powers of the L-G and the Delhi government, these are the schemes that are expected to get a push:

    Doorstep Delivery of Ration: The scheme aims to solve the issue of corruption in the public distribution system. During his 9-day sit-in protest, Kejriwal had said that getting this scheme cleared was among his main objectives.
     

    Construction of 94 Polyclinics: AAP government aims to reorganise healthcare facilities by remodelling the dispensaries into polyclinics.
     

    Reconstitution of Delhi Waqf Board: The Delhi Waqf Board was dissolved in October 2016. Several Waqf board properties have been illegally occupied since then. 

  • Interpretation that has been giving to Article 239AA is that Delhi has the same form of government as in other states

    "The interpretation that has been giving to Article 239AA is that Delhi has the same form of government as in other states. There's a Westminster style cabinet form of government, collective responsibility for elected government to make decisions in all areas where the constitution has given them power except police, land and public order. I always thought that the high court's interpretations was erroneous but we had to wait for quite a bit of time," Shadan Farasat, advocate on record for the Delhi government in the Supreme Court.

  • 'Supreme Court ruling means that L-G has no power as far as executive actions in Delhi go'

    ​Prateek Chadha, one of the advocates who drafted the Delhi government's petition in the Supreme Court, said that the apex court ruling essentially means that the L-G has no power in respect of executive actions in Delhi. 

    "First and foremost, that the decisions of the Delhi’s government cabinet will be binding on the L-G. The L-G has no power in respect of executive actions in Delhi. The only thing that he’s allowed to do is make a reference to the President of India in extraordinary cases which concern the central government and the federal structure of the Constitution. This is a big change from what was happening before the judgment which is that no decision could be made unless the L-G expressly agreed with the decision. The executive powers of the government of Delhi are co-extensive with the legislative powers of the government of Delhi, this means that Delhi will have the same executive and legislative powers as the government of any state in India with three exceptions – matters relating to land, police and public order. Since services is one of the subjects in the state list and the court has made it clear that with the three exceptions, all other subjects fall within the domain of the Delhi govt t legislate upon and make executive orders upon. It will follow that services will also be within the domain of the Delhi government."

  • 13:14 (IST)

    AAP govt to shift bureaucrats?

    After the Supreme Court ruling, Kejriwal-led AAP government in Delhi has called for a Cabinet meeting at 4 pm today and according to a few reports there is a reshuflle of the bureaucrats in the offing. Bureaucrats were in the centre of the power tussle between the L-G and the Delhi government. 

    If Kejriwal govt does decide to take a major decision on the posting of the bureaucrats it will be a strong statement by the chief minister who has been locked in a power-struggle with the Centre. 

  • 12:31 (IST)

    Arvind Kejriwal to meet Cabinet ministers at 4 pm
     

    Following the Supreme Court verdict on the Delhi power tussle, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called for a meeting with all Cabinet ministers at 4 pm at his residence "to discuss critical projects of public importance which were blocked so far."

  • 12:23 (IST)

    Read Supreme Court's full judgment

  • Faith in democracy restored, says Satyendra Jain

    "Our faith in the democracy has been restored. The lieutenant governor is bound by aid and advice of the council of ministers, subject to the provision of Article 239AA to refer the matter to the president and cannot act independently. While the reserved powers like the police and law and order are with the L-G, we now have control over departments like health and education that are critical to Delhi's development. Mohalla clinic files were lying pending with the L-G for one and a half years and the files for polyclinics took one year." Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain told Firstpost.

  • 12:05 (IST)

    Issues like transfer of bureaucrats will now come under Delhi govt, says Raghav Chadha

    "Supreme Court has clarified that matters of police, and law and order won't come under the Delhi government's ambit. Apart from these three areas, issues like the transfer of bureaucrats will come under the Delhi government," AAP leader Raghav Chadha was quoted as saying by ANI.

  • 11:57 (IST)

    Sheila Dikshit says Supreme Court has reiterated role of L-G, Delhi govt

    "I think what the Supreme Court has said is very clear. As per Article 239 (AA) of the Constitution, Delhi is not a state, it is a Union Territory. If Delhi government and L-G don't work together, then Delhi will face problems," former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit said.

  • 11:50 (IST)

    Now work won't be stalled, says Manish Sisodia

    After Supreme Court's judgment on Delhi power tussle, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia thanked the judges of apex court for giving a " historic" verdict.

  • 11:48 (IST)

    What happens to Delhi government's orders previously struck down by L-G?

    If these orders are specifically mentioned in the petition filed by the AAP, the Supreme Court might order them null and void. However, it is only after a careful reading of the Supreme Court verdict that we can ascertain whether or not the previous orders by the L-G have been struck down by the apex court.

  • IAS officers' forum welcomes SC verdict

    "Civil servants don't belong to any political party. They cannot exercise the discretion to prefer one party over another. The Supreme Court is the highest court of India and it has reiterated constitutional provisions. This is a victory for the Constitution and the express provisions of Article 239 AA," says K Mahesh, senior bureaucrat and president of the Delhi Administrative Officers' Academic Forum.

  • 11:31 (IST)

    Arvind Kejriwal calls SC verdict 'big victory for democracy'

    After the Supreme Court verdict on the Delhi power tussle case, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal welcomed the judgment on Twitter.

  • SC affirmation of elected govt's power furthers democratic values

    The Supreme Court's affirmation of the powers of the elected representatives of NCT-Delhi furthers democratic values, in keeping with the special constitutional status of NCT-Delhi in comparison with other Union Territories. The real question is what it means that the L-G may refer a matter to the President, if his opinion on it differs with that of the elected government, under the proviso to Article 239AA(4). One will need to read the three opinions (of the Justices) to know what the norm will be in such a circumstance.

  • 11:06 (IST)

    'Executive powers to be exercised by elected government'

    The majority verdict — backed by CJI Dipak Misra, AK Sikri and AM Khanwilkar — said that the government in National Capital Territory should be allowed to make laws.

  • 10:57 (IST)

    'L-G can’t interfere in every decision of the elected government': Three out of five judges

  • 10:54 (IST)

    'There is no space for anarchy and absolutism in our Constitution'

    "Lieutenant Governor can't act in a mechanical manner... Lt. Governor is bound by aid and advice of Council of Ministers, subject to the provision to Article 239 AA to refer matter to president. He cannot act independently and has to act as per aid and advice of Council of Ministers," the judgment, read by Dipak Misra, said.

  • 10:42 (IST)

    Conclusions of Supreme Court:

    - Court must adopt an interpretation of Constitution which is in consonance with democratic principles. 

    - All three organs of State must stay rooted to Constitution. 

    - Decisions should be in consonance with the spirit of Constitution.

  • 10:40 (IST)

    CJI Dipak Misra begins reading out his judgment; three separate verdicts to be pronounced

  • 10:38 (IST)

    Why does AAP want power in Delhi?

    The AAP, in its petition, said that the chief minister and the council of ministers had the legislative power to make laws as well as the executive authority to enforce the enacted statutes. Accusing L-G of making a "mockery of democracy," the Kejriwal government accused Anil Baijal of sitting on files and hindering the "development" projects in the national capital.

    AAP also argued that the L-G was either taking decisions of an elected government or substituting them without having any power and that a "harmonious interpretation" of Article 239AA of the Constitution was needed to fulfill the constitutional mandate for a democratically-elected Delhi government. The article deals with power and status of Delhi.

  • 10:35 (IST)

    Why is there a fight for power between Delhi chief minister and the L-G?

    It is unclear as to who holds power in Delhi because per Schedule I of the Constitution, is a Union Territory. In Delhi, the elected government has the right to legislate on nearly all subjects. The L-G of Delhi, meanwhile, has "Executive Functions" that allow him to exercise his powers in matters connected to public order, police and land. To give the Delhi government control over land, police and public order a constitutional amendment is necessary.

  • 10:33 (IST)

    What is Article 239AA?

    In August 2016, the Delhi High Court upheld Article 230 of the Constitution stating that the Lieutenant Governor remains the administrative head of the National Capital Territory.

    Under Article 239 of the Constitution, every Union Territory is under an administrator (which would be the position of a governor). The administrator governs on the directions of the president. After after amendments, under Article 239AA, Delhi was given special provisions and was deemed a National Capital Territory. According to 239 AA, the administrator of the NCT was the lieutenant-governor. The L-G, who is to be appointed by the president, will be advised by a council of ministers. 

  • 09:57 (IST)

    Supreme Court verdict is expected at 10.30 am

    According to reports, the top court is likely to deliver its verdict at 10.30 am on the issue of who among the the lieutenant governor (L-G) or the Delhi government has the supremacy in administration. The decision is likely to end the tussle for power between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and L-G Anil Baijal.

  • 09:54 (IST)

    In December 2017, Supreme Court reserved its verdict on Delhi power tussle

    After hearing argument from both AAP government and the Centre for 15 days in over four weeks, the Supreme Court reserved its verdict on 6 December 2017 on a clutch of pleas on the issue of who enjoys supremacy in administration.

    Wrapping up the rejoinder submissions, AAP's counsel Gopal Subramanium told the bench that the chief minister and the council of ministers had the legislative power to make laws as well as the executive authority to enforce the enacted statutes.

    Had that not been the intention, there was no need to frame Article 239AA (which deals with power and status of Delhi under the Constitution), Subramanium said, adding that the national capital could have also been governed by Article 239A, meant to deal with the Union Territory of Puducherry.

  • 09:40 (IST)

    About the Constitution Bench which is set to deliver verdict on Delhi power tussle 

    Since 2017, a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra has been hearing a batch of pleas filed by the Delhi government against the high court verdict, which had held that Delhi is not a state and the L-G is its administrative head.

    The bench also comprises Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan. 
     

    While the battery of senior lawyers — P Chidambaram, Gopal Subramanium, Rajeev Dhavan, Indira Jaising — argued for the Arvind Kejriwal government, the NDA government at the Centre was represented by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh in the marathon proceedings.

  • 09:36 (IST)

    Supreme Court's observations in November 2017

    On 2 November 2017, the Supreme Court commenced a crucial hearing to determine whether the elected government or the lieutenant governor (L-G) enjoys supremacy in the administration of the Union Territory of Delhi, observing that the constitutional scheme was prima facie tilted in favour of L-G.

    "Article 239AA is unique to Delhi. Prima facie it appears that it gives more power to L-G unlike other Union Territories. L-G in Delhi has the primacy under the Constitution," the five-judge bench hearing the matter said.

    "Law is very clear at present that L-G partially enjoys delegated powers of president and partially he has to work in aid and advice of council of ministers. If their is difference of opinion, then he may refer the matter to the president for early resolution," the bench said.

  • 09:29 (IST)

    In September 2016, AAP government approached Supreme Court over Delhi HC's order 

    The Supreme Court refused to grant an interim stay on the Delhi High Court verdict in September 2016 which has held that lieutenant governor is the administrative head whose prior consent is needed in all administrative decisions.

    On 14 December 2016, the apex court observed that the Delhi government should have some powers otherwise it cannot function while hearing the appeals of the city government.

    In February 2017, the apex court said it was correct that the elected government should have some powers, but whether it would be according to the Delhi High Court verdict or as being perceived by the Delhi government needed to be looked into. On 15 February, the matter was referred to a Constitution Bench.

  • 09:16 (IST)

    What was the 2016 Delhi High Court order?

    In August 2016, the Delhi High Court upheld Article 230 of the Constitution stating that the Lieutenant Governor remains the administrative head of the National Capital Territory, concluding the legal tussle between Delhi's AAP government and Lt governor Najeeb Jung.

    A division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath ruled that Delhi government notifications must be issued after consulting the L-G. The court said that all service matters fall outside the jurisdiction of Delhi Legislative Assembly and if the Najeeb Jung chooses to exercise his powers then it cannot be deemed unconstitutional.

    The court's judgement came on nine different petitions arising out of the spat between the then L-G Najeeb Jung and Delhi's Aam Aadmi Party government over the power to appoint bureaucrats in the national capital and other issues.

  • 08:39 (IST)

    AAP hits out at Narendra Modi govt for leaving it with 'zero control'

    Ahead of the Supreme Court verdict on the power tussle in Delhi, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj tweeted "reminders" against the Narendra Modi government. "AAP government was formed in February 2015. Three months later, Modi  government brought this notification which took away 'services' from the AAP government. This means Sheila Dixit government had all control over her officers/employees, Kejriwal government was left with zero control," he said.

    Lashing out at the Modi government for taking away powers of the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB), Bharadwaj said, "Sheila Dixit had ACB for 15 years, but was taken away because Modi was too scared of Arvind Kejriwal and his ACB."

  • 08:28 (IST)

    RECAP: Kejriwal appeal over grant statehood to Delhi

    Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday appealed to all political parties to unite to demand complete statehood for the national capital and announced a city-wide campaign for the same. "It's not just the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) fight. All parties should come together to support this demand. We will convene an all-party meeting soon to seek support for complete statehood for Delhi," Kejriwal told a gathering of party workers at the Indira Gandhi Stadium.

    "I want to remind Prime Minister Narendra Modi of his promise to grant full statehood to Delhi. If he doesn't deliver on it, his party will not get a single seat in the next elections," the chief minister said. The lack of statehood was the reason behind the continuous tussle with the lieutenant governor and the alleged strike by bureaucrats, according to Kejriwal.

  • 07:49 (IST)

    Kejriwal writes to Rajnath: 'CM’s consent be taken in appointing officers at the CM’s office'

    A day ahead of the judgment, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has contested the Delhi High Vourt order declaring the L-G as Delhi’s ‘administrative head’ in the Supreme Court in August 2016, wrote to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, urging that CM’s consent be taken in appointing officers at the CM’s office.

    "It has been always a convention and decorum that personal officers of a chief minister are posted along with him/her, as per his/her choice and selection. It has always been a prerogative of the elected chief minister to choose his own staff. However, in the case of Delhi, this principle has, unfortunately and shockingly, been regularly flouted," Kejriwal wrote.

  • 07:44 (IST)

    Elected govt can't be without powers: AAP petition to SC

    At the heart of the Aam Aadmi Party government's petition is the argument that an elected government cannot be without any power and the constitution could not give the Lieutenant Governor powers to "stultify daily governance by sitting over files". The petition challenges the high court's decision that the Lieutenant Governor is the administrative boss of Delhi.

Supreme Court verdict LATEST UPDATES: In a press conference, Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said that the government was thankful to the judiciary.

Reacting to the judgment, which was termed a victory by the ruling AAP government, BJP's Sambit Patra said that he found it amusing that the party was celebrating the order, when clearly it hasn't studied it completely. He said the order only shows that the party's demand for full statehood is unconstitutional, and the court has advised against rationalising anarchism.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, while reacting to the Supreme Court's judgment said that action will be taken after due deliberation on the order. An official spokesperson said tha court's order will be followed.

The Delhi Cabinet ministers will meet at 4 pm to discuss "critical projects of public importance which were blocked so far." Since coming to power, AAP has accused the L-G of stalling several key schemes. With the Supreme Court verdict clarifying on the powers of the L-G and the Delhi government, schemes like the doorstep delivery of ration are expected to get a push.

The relevance of the Wednesday's Supreme Court's 5-judge Constitution Bench verdict on the division of powers between the Lieutenant Governor and an elected government in Delhi lies in its spirit and in substance, not in instances. The judgment is significant because it has for the first time led to interpretation of a Constitutional provision that lies at the core of governance of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

Prateek Chadha, one of the advocates who drafted the Delhi government's petition in the Supreme Court, said that the apex court ruling essentially means that the L-G has no power in respect of executive actions in Delhi. "First and foremost, that the decisions of the Delhi’s government cabinet will be binding on the L-G. The L-G has no power in respect of executive actions in Delhi. The only thing that he’s allowed to do is make a reference to the President of India in extraordinary cases which concern the central government and the federal structure of the Constitution. This is a big change from what was happening before the judgment which is that no decision could be made unless the L-G expressly agreed with the decision. The executive powers of the government of Delhi are co-extensive with the legislative powers of the government of Delhi, this means that Delhi will have the same executive and legislative powers as the government of any state in India with three exceptions – matters relating to land, police and public order. Since services is one of the subjects in the state list and the court has made it clear that with the three exceptions, all other subjects fall within the domain of the Delhi govt t legislate upon and make executive orders upon. It will follow that services will also be within the domain of the Delhi government."

After the Supreme Court ruling, Kejriwal-led AAP government in Delhi has called for a Cabinet meeting at 4 pm today and according to a few reports there is a reshuflle of the bureaucrats in the offing. Bureaucrats were in the centre of the power tussle between the L-G and the Delhi government.

If Kejriwal govt does decide to take a major decision on the posting of the bureaucrats it will be a strong statement by the chief minister who has been locked in a power-struggle with the Centre.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia welcomed the the Supreme Court verdict, which said that Delhi is not a full state and that the L-G has no independent power. Kejriwal will meet the ministers in the Delhi Cabinet at 4 pm on Wednesday.

The apex court further obsrved that the status of the L-G is not similar to that of the Governor of other states, while the Parliament has the power to make laws for Delhi on subjects in state and concurrent list, the elected government can also make laws on all subjects expect land, police and public order. If Parliament makes a law, the executive power of the state must conform to the law made by Parliament. The Supreme Court also observed that the L-G is bound by the aid and advise of the Council of Ministers to implement the President's decision.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave more power to the elected government in Delhi and limited the role of the L-G. “The Lieutenant Governor can't act in a mechanical manner and refer all decisions of the council of ministers to President. The L-G's role can't be obstructionist, he must work together with the council of ministers and respect their decisions,” Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said while reading out the verdict of the five-judge Constitutional bench. In addition to the CJI, the bench comprised Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.

Reading out their judgment, a five-judge bench in a majority order said that the state and Union must be healthy, the two must collaborate and take decisions in consonance of the Constitution. He added that the L-G has to consult the Council of Ministers and cannot act independently unless written in the Constitution. He reiterated that the LG holds different powers from Governors of other states.

"L-G must work harmoniously work with elected government. L-G is the administrative head but he can't act as an obstructionist."

In a majority of three judges — CJI Dipak Misra, A K Sikri and A M Khanwilkar, the bench noted that the L-G can't interfere into every decision of the elected government. The L-G must work harmoniously with the state, the L-G and council of ministers have to be constantly aligned, noted the Supreme Court.

The Constitution of India mandates a federal balance between the State and the Centre,the Centre shall not usurp powers on areas within the dominion of state, the five-judge bench has noted. Delhi government does not have the status of a 'State', the CJI noted. The apex court also said that the L-G is bound by act and advise of council of ministers... "L-G can't act independently unless Constitution allows," observed the court.

CJI Dipak Misra has started reading out the judgment in the matter. In November 2017, the AAP government had argued in the Supreme Court that the actions of the Lt. Governor can't be an impediment to the day-to-day functioning of the government.

Ahead of the Supreme Court verdict on Wednesday over the power tussle in Delhi, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj tweeted "reminders" against the Narendra Modi government. "AAP government was formed in February 2015. Three months later, Modi government brought this notification which took away 'services' from the AAP government. This means Sheila Dixit government had all control over her officers/employees, Kejriwal government was left with zero control," he said.

Will it be Delhi Chief Miniser Arvind Kejriwal or the Centre, represented by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal? The Supreme Court is most likely to pronounce its verdict on who controls the reins of power to administer Delhi.

A Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AK Sikri, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud, and Justice Ashok Bhushan had reserved the verdict on the contentious issue between the Centre and the AAP government on 6 December last year after hearing the matter for 15 days.

The Delhi government had moved the apex court to challenge a Delhi High Court verdict that held that the L-G held primacy over an elected government in the administration of Delhi.

Asserting that it had the executive powers on which it can aid and advice the L-G, the Kejriwal government had contended that an elected government can't be treated subservient to an overriding authority of the L-G. The Delhi government also contended that it was only in an emergency situation that the L-G can refer to the President the matters on which there are differences of opinion between the L-G and the elected government.

The Delhi government also argued that the constitutional provisions can be interpreted only to advance the goals of the Constitution and the people's democratic aspirations. On the other hand, the Centre contended that all executive powers to administer the national capital were vested in it and that it exercised the same through the L-G.

The Centre told the court that the "aid and advice" by the elected Delhi government was not binding on the L-G, as was the case with other states.

Even as the Centre sought to underline the pivotal position that the Lt Governor enjoys in the administration of Delhi, the apex court said that the L-G was expected to show "Constitutional statesmanship" in dealing with an elected government.


Updated Date: Jul 04, 2018 19:01 PM

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