AAP Vs Centre: Supreme Court says Centre has absolute control over Delhi’s Anti-Corruption Branch

The Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had been at loggerheads with incumbent LG Anil Baijal and his predecessor Najeeb Jung. Kejriwal had accused both of them of preventing the functioning of his government at the behest of the BJP-led central government.

Three months after the Supreme Court reserved its right on an assortment of petitions challenging notifications issued by the Arvind Kejriwal led government amid the power tussle between the Centre and Delhi, the SC delivered its final judgement on Thursday.

A bench of justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan pronounced their findings on nine petitions that were filed before the court in connection with the dispute. The hearing had concluded on November 1, 2018.

The issues, which the court ruled upon, were, as to who would have the control over services in Delhi administration, the power to set up the commission of inquiry, and control over the anti-corruption bureau.

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Below are the key takeaways of the verdict delivered by the bench:

  • Two judge bench of SC delivers split verdict on whether the Delhi government or Centre has jurisdiction over appointment and transfer of bureaucrats in Delhi.
  • There was a difference of opinion among judges over control of services in Delhi.
  • Supreme Court two-judge bench have split verdict on the jurisdiction of Centre or Delhi government over appointment and transfer of bureaucrats in Delhi.
  • Justice AK Sikri holds, transfers of posting of Joint Secretary and above officers are in the domain of LG, while other officers fall under the Delhi government, however, in case of difference of opinion, view of LG to prevail. Anti Corruption Bureau to come under LG.
  • The bench unanimously decides that the Centre will have jurisdiction over Delhi’s anti-corruption bureau and upholds Centre’s notification.
  • SC says that Delhi’s elected government has the power to appoint a special public prosecutor
  • SC says that both elected government and Lieutenant Governor should work together in mutual respect for the welfare of people.
  • SC refers the issue to a larger bench to decide on whether the Delhi govt or LG should have jurisdiction over services in Delhi.
  • SC also holds in favour of Centre on power to set up Inquiry Commission and says that Delhi govt cannot appoint a commission under Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952.
  • Justice Ashok Bhushan dissents from Justice Sikri on the issue of ‘Services’ and says all the officers fall under the domain of the Central government.
  • SC asks the Delhi Government to sort out their differences with the LG. “Mutual respect for each other is an essential part of good governance and they must realise that they are supposed to work for benefits of common citizens”, said the bench to both the parties.

Finally, according to what Lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay told ANI, the Supreme Court took a decision on 6 issues. Amongst those 6, SC ruled in favour of the centre in 4 of them.

The final verdict on the legal battle of Centre Vs Delhi’s AAP:

While the Anti-Corruption Bureau, posting & transfer of Grade 1 & Grade 2 officers, Commission of Inquiry, falls under Centre’s jurisdiction, the Electricity department, Revenue department, posting & transfer of Grade 3 & Grade 4 officer will come under Delhi government. But in case of any difference of opinion, the LG’s decision will prevail.

While the issue over control of services has been referred to a larger bench, the SC said in its verdict that only the Centre has the power to set up an inquiry commission. This means that the Delhi government will not be able to probe the central government officers.

The partial verdict comes as a setback for the Delhi government which was hoping for more control over the governance of Delhi.

The Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had been at loggerheads with incumbent LG Anil Baijal and his predecessor Najeeb Jung. Kejriwal had accused both of them of preventing the functioning of his government at the behest of the BJP-led central government.

Earlier in October last year, the Delhi government told SC that it wanted its petitions relating to the governance of the national capital to be heard soon as it wants to quickly get rid of the stalemate, which is hampering administration in the city.


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