SC to give verdict on who is going to govern Delhi

New Delhi: A constitution bench of five judges headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra will pronounce its verdict on the state government’s tussle with the Centre over administrative control and governance of the national capital at 10.30am on Wednesday, reports a national daily.

On December 6 in 2017, the Supreme Court reserved its verdict on appeals filed by the Arvind Kejriwal government against a Delhi high court judgment declaring the lieutenant governor (LG) as the sole administrator of the capital. Hearing in the matter continued for a month before it was finally wrapped up.

A galaxy of senior advocates – including former additional solicitor general Indira Jaising, Congress leader P Chidambaram and former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium – argued on the Delhi government’s behalf. The Centre, however, firmly rejected the claim that an elected government should have executive power over the national capital.

A day ahead of the judgment, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has contested the Delhi high court order declaring the L-G as Delhi’s ‘administrative head’ in the Supreme Court in August 2016, wrote to Union home minister Rajnath Singh, urging that CM’s consent be taken in appointing officers at the CM’s office.

“It has been always a convention and decorum that personal officers of a chief minister are posted along with him/her, as per his/her choice and selection. It has always been a prerogative of the elected chief minister to choose his own staff. However, in the case of Delhi, this principle has, unfortunately and shockingly, been regularly flouted,” Kejriwal wrote.

The chief minister said there have been instances where the officers of his choice have not been considered to be posted in his office. “…while at the same time some other officers who have been diligently working with me, have often been transferred out of Delhi without my consent or knowledge,” he said, adding that there has to be continuity in officers’ tenures so that they get ample time to formulate strategies and follow them up for effective execution, reported Hindustan Times.

Kejriwal cited examples of officers such as Sanjeev Chaturvedi, former deputy secretary at AIIMS, who he had sought to bring to the Delhi government, but was never transferred by the Centre. Chaturvedi was the whistleblower in an alleged corruption case in AIIMS.

The chief minister also cited the case of officer Geetika Sharma, who was Kejriwal’s additional secretary, but was transferred within two years.

“Subsequently, PK Panda, special secretary in my office, too, was transferred to Puducherry after a brief stint of eight months. Both the officers were transferred without my consent or knowledge. Now, my present special secretary CR Garg, IAS, too, has been transferred to Goa in a recent order of the MHA, within a short span of 11 months,” Kejriwal said.

The chief minister’s letter to the Union home minister is only one of the many letters from Kejriwal and other ministers of the Delhi government to the Centre and its representative, the L-G, seeking control over various aspects of governance.

Both the Centre, with the L-G at the helm, and the Delhi government have been locked in a bitter power tussle ever since the AAP swept to power in Delhi in 2015.

The conflicts stems out of the status of Delhi, which is a Union Territory and not a full state. As a result, the Delhi government does not have control over land,appointment of senior officers and the police force. These three are controlled by the L-G.

The AAP has accused the L-G’s office of obstructing projects taken up by the AAP government. Some projects affected due to L-G’s alleged “interference”, according to the party, include mohalla sabhas, mohalla clinics, bus aggregator scheme, and filling vacancies in hospitals.