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Who controls services in Delhi? Month after landmark verdict, AAP moves Supreme Court

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 25 March 2019, 12:41 PM
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi told the Delhi government counsel that it will look into the matter
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi told the Delhi government counsel that it will look into the matter

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking constitution of a larger bench to decide the issue of who controls the services in Delhi. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi told the Delhi government counsel that it will look into the matter. The apex court had on February 14 referred the issue of control of services to a larger bench after delivering a split verdict.

The two-judge bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan had said that the Centre should have the final word on posting and transfer of bureaucrats in the national capital administration, but their disagreement on finer details resulted in a split verdict and the matter got referred to a larger bench.  The Supreme Court’s verdict came as a big blow to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who has been at the bad terms with the Centre ever since he took charge in 2015.

A two-judge bench agreed on disputes pertaining to the anti-corruption branch, setting up of a commission of inquiry, control over electricity boards, land revenue matters and appointment of public prosecutors.

Justice AK Sikri said transfers and postings of Joint Secretaries and officers above will be in the domain of Lieutenant Governor; for those below them, the recommendation will be routed through the Council of Ministers of the elected government in Delhi.

However, Justice Ashok Bhushan differed saying that the Delhi government has no control over appointments. Transfer and appointment of "higher" officers will rest with the Centre, he added.

The Centre alone will control the Anti-Corruption Bureau and can only pass orders under the Commission of Inquiry Act.

The bench also said that the Delhi government will have the powers to appoint a Special Public Prosecutor, and decide the minimum rate of the agricultural land in the national capital. The power to regulate electricity will also rest with the Delhi government.

First Published: Monday, March 25, 2019 12:40 PM
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