New Delhi: Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party Thursday said it was unfortunate that there was no clarity in the Supreme Court’s split verdict on who controls services in the National Capital Territory and that Delhiites will continue to “suffer”. While Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal terming the judgment to be against “constitution and democracy” said the AAP dispensation will seek legal remedies, party spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj asserted that there has been no decision on services even four years after the formation of the AAP government.
Bhardwaj alleged the Centre appoints such officers who create hurdles in the works of the AAP government. Addressing a press conference after the SC verdict, Kejriwal said the apex court’s ruling on division of powers is “unfortunate” and “injustice to people” of Delhi. “The judgment is against the constitution and democracy. We will seek legal remedies,” he said.
In a jolt to the AAP dispensation, The Supreme Court Thursday delivered a split verdict on the contentious issue of control of services in the National Capital Territory in the tussle between the Delhi government and the Centre and referred the matter to a larger bench. A two-judge bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, however, agreed on their views on disputes pertaining to the Anti-Corruption Branch, setting up of a commission of inquiry, control over electricity boards, land revenue matters and appointment of pubic prosecutors.
The apex court also upheld the Centre’s notification that its employees cannot be probed in corruption cases by ACB of Delhi government. Claiming the court order states the elected government has no power to transfer officers, Kejriwal sought to know how the AAP dispensation will work and said the chief minister of Delhi does not have power to appoint even a peon. “We have been suffering for the last four years. We cannot set up mohalla clinics… What sort of democracy is it?,” he posed. It (court order) says a party (AAP) with 67 seats cannot transfer officers and a party (BJP) with three seats can do it, Kejriwal, who is also the AAP national convener, alleged. “How will the government function if officers do not obey ministers? The solution to the problem lies with the people of Delhi. They should give all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi to the AAP. We will force the government at the Centre to given full statehood to Delhi,” he said.
The division of powers of the National Capital Territory between the Delhi government and the Centre has been a bone of contention between the AAP government and the BJP-ruled Centre. AAP spokesperson Bhardwaj said, “Since the AAP government was formed, the Centre has been creating hurdles in its functioning. We hoped that there would be a clear order, but even after four years, but there is no clear decision yet. It is very unfortunate.” “It is not only unfortunate for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, but for all the citizens of Delhi. People of Delhi will continue to suffer,” he said.
Referring to the Supreme Court’s judgment in July last year that made clear the Lt Governor’s advice is not binding on the Delhi government, Bhardwaj said the five-judge Constitution Bench had clearly said that except land, public order and police, all issues will come under the Delhi government. “The two judges (Justices Sikri and Bhushan), who delivered today’s judgment, were also part of the five-judge Constitution Bench. I feel today’s order is against the one delivered by the five-judge Constitution bench,” he said.