A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court while hearing the Delhi government versus Centre case was split on services but agreed on Centre having control over the Anti-Corruption Bureau in Delhi.. The services issue has been sent to a larger bench.
Elaborating on the role of Lieutenant Governor (LG), the judges said that he is expected to honour the wisdom of the ministers and not sit over their decisions. “That is a facet of good governance. By and large it demands a mutual respect between the two organs . They are here to serve the Delhi citizens.”
Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan had ended hearings arguments on the nine petitions around the power tussle between the centre and the Arvind Kejriwal government nearly three months back.
The top court’s constitution bench, which had taken a hard look at the relationship between the Centre and the elected government, had last year marked the broad contours. This judgment had ruled that the city’s LG did not have independent decision-making powers and the real power had to lie with the elected government.
A Constitution bench on July 4, 2018, had asked both authorities to practice “collaborative federalism”. The court had restricted the jurisdiction of the L-G to matters of land, police and public order. On other issues, the L-G had to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers of the elected government of Delhi.
The top court ruled in favour of Centre on two issues – the key Anti-Corruption Bureau issue and the power to institute commission of enquiry. Electricity and revenue departments (fixing of circle rates), posting and transfer of Grade 3 and Grade 4 officers, appointing special public prosecutor and appointment of directors in discoms will come under Delhi government.
Delivering it verdict on the rates for agricultural land, the judges said the LG can form an opinion but not on each and every matter.”LG is not expected to differ routinely but in cogent cases. There may be contingencies where LG and ministers may differ, LG is supposed to refer the difference to President, decision cannot be implemented without referring to LG.”