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Kejriwal is the BOSS of Delhi

Delhi government has legislative and executive control over services in the national capital, except on subjects of public order, police and land.



SC Verdict

The Supreme Court has delivered its verdict on the ongoing power tussle between the Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor. Find out what the ruling means for the future of governance in the national capital in this comprehensive article.

In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court of India ruled on May 11, 2023, that the Delhi government has legislative and executive control over services in the national capital, except on subjects of public order, police and land. This means that the Delhi government can control the administrative officers, including the Indian Administrative Services (IAS), even if they are not recruited by the National Capital Territory (NCT) government.

The verdict was delivered by a five-judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices M R Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha. The bench unanimously held that the right to control services must reside with the democratically-elected government, as per the constitutional scheme of governance. The bench also said that the principle of democracy and federalism form a part of the basic structure of the Constitution and that the real power of administration must rest with the elected government.

The verdict was a major victory for the Delhi government, which has been locked in a power struggle with the Central government ever since the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) assumed office in 2014. The Delhi government had challenged a split verdict of a division bench of the apex court in 2019, which had given conflicting views on the control of services in the national capital. While one judge had ruled that the Delhi government had no power at all over administrative services, the other judge had differed and said that the transfer or posting of officers in the top echelons of the bureaucracy can only be done by the Centre and the lieutenant governor’s view will prevail in case of a difference of opinion on matters related to other bureaucrats.

The Supreme Court’s verdict on May 11, 2023, settled this controversy and upheld the rights of the Delhi government to control services in the national capital. The verdict also affirmed the earlier judgement of a Constitution bench in July 2018, which had laid down the broad parameters for the governance of Delhi and had clipped the powers of the lieutenant governor by saying that he has no independent decision-making power and has to act on the aid and advice of the elected government. The verdict was welcomed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who hailed it as a victory for democracy and federalism. He said that the verdict would ensure better governance and development for Delhi. He also thanked the Supreme Court for its judgement and expressed his gratitude to all those who supported his government’s fight for justice.

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