The AAP-led Delhi government on Tuesday moved Supreme Court seeking an early hearing on pending issues relating to the turf war with Lt Governor Anil Baijal. The bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said that the petitions would be listed sometime next week after Delhi government lawyer Rahul Mehra sought urgent hearing on the pending issues. He told the judges that even after the last week’s verdict, the stalemate over the issue of public services, which deals with transfers and postings of officers within the government, was continuing and this was affecting day-to-day governance.
The apex court had last week laid down broad parameters for the governance of the national capital, but it had failed to ease tension between the AAP government and the LG.
In its July 4 ruling, the top court had vindicated the chief minister who had accused the LG of preventing his government from functioning properly. However, the five-judge Constitution Bench had said that various notifications issued by the Delhi government in exercise of its administrative and legislative powers would be dealt separately by an appropriate smaller bench.
As per the SC order, a two-judge bench would decide the nine appeals, including the one relating to the May 21, 2015 ministry of home affairs notification giving the LG control over the bureaucrats, their appointments and transfers.
Besides, the petitions challenge the validity of two individual notifications issued by the Delhi government.
Other appeals include policy decisions taken by the AAP government related to setting up of commissions of enquiry into the alleged CNG fitness scam and allegations of malpractices in the Delhi and District Cricket Association. These decisions were declared “illegal” by the Delhi High Court in its August 2016 verdict because they were issued without taking the LG’s views.
The Delhi government, hours after the SC judgement, had introduced a new system for transfer and postings of bureaucrats, making the CM the approving authority. But, the services department refused to comply with the order, stating ‘services’ continues to remain under the LG. While Kejriwal had sent a letter to Baijal urging to “fully implement the apex court order giving primacy to the Delhi government,” the LG had responded by saying that appeals are still pending before a regular bench and the AAP government should not draw “wrong inferences.”
The CM also accused Baijal of selectively accepting the SC’s ruling, saying the order made it clear that the executive powers of the Centre are limited to three subjects only (land, police and public order)” and all other subjects fell under the jurisdiction of the elected government including “services,” which are currently under the LG’s control. Kejriwal also warned the LG and bureaucrats of contempt of court.