In Tussle vs. Centre, the Delhi government won a significant victory in the Supreme Court
A unanimous decision by a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court stated that the Delhi government must have control over services and that the Lieutenant Governor is subject to its ruling.
A significant victory for AAP
In a significant victory for the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in a protracted power struggle with the Centre, the Supreme Court ruled today that the government of Delhi must have authority over amenities and that the Lieutenant Governor must abide by its ruling.
The Delhi assembly has the authority to pass laws
According to a unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench, the Delhi assembly has the authority to pass laws to convey the decisions of the citizens.
The real power to govern reside with the elected branch of the government
The bench noted that in a democratic system of government, the real power to govern must reside with the elected branch of the government and that the central government’s authority in areas where both the Centre and states can pass legislation is “limited to make sure that the management isn’t taken over by the Central government.”
The judges disagreed, stating that only Public Order, Police, and Land are outside the purview of the Delhi government’s authority.
“The principle of collective responsibility is impacted if officers discontinue reporting to the ministers or do not follow orders, Chief Justice DY Chandhrachud declared while reading out the order.
The lieutenant governor is bound by the elected government’s decision regarding services
The question of who has the power of administration over the shifts and postings of government officials in the capital was addressed by the five-judge Constitution Bench.
The judges decided that the decision on services made by the elected government is binding on the lieutenant governor, who represents the Centre in Delhi. They claimed that the Lt Governor was also subject to the council of ministers’ guidance and counsel.
The Supreme Court ruled that having a separately elected body in Delhi would be pointless if the Lt Governor’s authority did not extend to the leadership of the entire Delhi government.
Chief Justice Verdict
“If a democratically elected government cannot control and hold its officials accountable, its accountability to the legislature and society will be weakened. When civil servants do not respond to the government, collective responsibility is weakened. They are isolated from elected government and do not consider themselves responsible,” said the Chief Justice.
AAP MP Raghav Chadha’s Tweet
The ruling Delhi AAP party celebrated its victory after years of wrangling with several deputy governors since taking office in 2013. “Satyamev Jayate. Delhi wins. The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling sends a solemn message that officials working with the Delhi government must serve the people of Delhi through their elected government,” AAP MP Raghav Chadha tweeted.
Delhi’s Chief Minister Kejriwal often complained that he couldn’t appoint a “peon” without the center’s permission.