The Delhi government has control over bureaucrats assigned to departments under its purview, a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, giving chief minister Arvind Kejriwal a significant boost at a time when his administration has been locked in a bruising fight with the Union government for executive control over the Capital.
The judgment laid down that the “government of national capital territory of Delhi (NCTD)” has legislative and executive power over “services”, that is, those listed under Entry 41 of List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
It clarified that the order does not extend to what are known Entries 1, 2 and 18 of the State list — police, land and public order — since Article 239AA of the Constitution, which provides for the powers of the Delhi Assembly, specifically excludes these subjects and places them under the legislative control of the Union Government.
Kejriwal welcomed the verdict, saying it will “lead to many fold jump in the progress of Delhi”.
“The Supreme Court has sternly said that the powers of the Delhi government snatched by the Centre in 2015 was unconstitutional and its only motive was to fail the AAP government,” Kejriwal, who is AAP’s national convener, said. His reference is to a 2015 notification of the Union government that laid down that the Delhi government will have no powers over services as is the case under Entry 41 of State list under the constitution, which gives state assemblies the prerogative on state public services.
The bench also held that references to “state government” in relevant rules of All India Services or Joint Cadre Services, of which the Delhi government is a part or which are in relation to it, shall mean the UT’s elected government.