Center-Delhi Govt dispute head of the Constitution Bench
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday referred to a Constitution Bench the fight between the Center and the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government for control over bureaucrats in the capital.
Chief Justice of India N.V. A three-judge bench headed by Ramana said an official declaration by a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court is required on the limited question relating to ‘services’ or bureaucracy between the central and Delhi governments.
The court informed the lawyers that the matter would be listed again on May 11.
The CJI, who read out the order in open court, said the court “did not consider it necessary to reconsider” any other issue between the Center and the Delhi government, which had already been settled in the court’s earlier judgment in 2018. had gone.
Four years ago, a Constitution Bench had unanimously held that the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi is bound by the “aid and advice” of the popularly elected Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and the two have to work in tandem with each other. It had noted that there is no place for anarchy or absolutism in a democracy.
However, while reading out the order, Chief Justice Ramana pointed out that the issue of ‘services’ was not specifically dealt with in the 2018 judgment.
‘King without a kingdom’ The government of the National Capital Territory had likened its position without power over ‘services’ like a king of a state. The situation was such that a “democratic representative government” had to seek the approval of the lieutenant governor to appoint a health secretary or commerce secretary, it had argued.
The 2018 judgment had made it clear that the powers of the Center and the Delhi government are collective and comprehensive, senior advocate A.M. Singhvi had submitted for the Delhi government.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on behalf of the Centre, argued in favor of sending the issue to the Constitution Bench.
The Center had argued that the country’s capital and huge metropolis Delhi should be under its control. The Center argued that Delhi cannot be left to the “little mercy and little resources” of the state legislature.
On February 14, 2019, Supreme Court Justice A.K. On the question of control over ‘services’ in the capital, Sikri and Ashok Bhushan (both retired) gave a divided opinion.
While Justice Bhushan held that the Delhi government had no authority over the ‘services’, Justice Sikri, who was the chief justice of the bench, took a middle ground.
Justice Sikri had concluded that the files of transfer and posting of officers of the rank of Secretary, Head of Department and Joint Secretary can be handed over directly to the Lieutenant Governor. As far as the DANICS (Delhi Andaman Nicobar Islands Civil Service) cadre is concerned, the files can be sent to the Lieutenant Governor through the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister, Justice Sikri wrote. Again, in case of difference of opinion, the Lieutenant Governor prevailed.
The Delhi government has also separately sought quashing of amendments to 13 rules of the ‘Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) Act’ and ‘Transaction of Business of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Rules, 1993’.
It has argued that the amendments violate the principle of the basic structure of the Constitution and that the Center through these changes has given more power to the Lieutenant Governor than the elected government of the people of Delhi.