The Supreme Court on Thursday referred to a larger bench the issue of whether the Delhi government or the central government would control the administrative services officers appointed to the state-capital. The two judges, however, gave a unanimous verdict that the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) of Delhi, appointed by the President, would have absolute control over the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
A two-judge bench of Justice A K Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan in their judgement also agreed that the power to appoint inquiry commissions would rest with the Centre. The Delhi government, on the other hand, would have the right to appoint public prosecutors, decide land revenue matters and appoint or deal with electricity commission or board, the bench said.
The most contentious issue of who would have the right to appoint or transfer officers of the administrative services divided the judges. While Justice Bhushan said that Delhi government should have no power at all over administrative services, Justice Sikri was of the view that the transfer or posting of officers from joint secretary rank or above should be done only by the central government. For officers of Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS) and Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Service (DANIPS), the file should be sent to the L-G by the state government’s council of ministers.
In case, there is a dispute between the two, the view of the L-G should prevail, Justice Sikri said.
Terming the judgement "injustice to the people" of Delhi as well as “against constitution and democracy”, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that his government would seek legal remedies against the verdict. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Delhi president Manoj Tiwari on the other hand welcomed the top court's judgment and said was a lesson for "urban naxals" like Kejriwal.
“This verdict is a slap on the face of urban naxals like Arvind Kejriwal. Why, after all, he wants to go across the boundaries of the Constitution. He should now focus on work after this judgment,” Tiwari said.