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Delhi vs Centre: 3 powers go to Delhi, 2 to Centre, 1 to be decided by larger SC bench

New Delhi: The following were the six contentious issues before the Supreme Court which gave its verdict Thursday on division of powers between the Delhi government and the Centre represented by Lt Governor.

Supreme Court which gave its verdict Thursday on division of powers between the Delhi government and the Centre represented by Lt Governor.

The three areas in which the Delhi government will have powers:

  1. Appointment of special public prosecutors or law officers.

This power was already given to Delhi government by the High Court in its 2016 order. Before that order, both the governments used to make the appointments, the standing counsel for the AAP government Rahul Mehra said, but added that each time Delhi government had to assert its right.

  1. Fixing land revenue rate.

Earlier this power was with LG. In 2015, the then LG Najeeb Jung had stayed Delhi government’s notification on revised circle rates of agricultural land. The Delhi High Court in its 2016 verdict on the power tussle issue between both the governments, had handed this power to the Centre which was challenged by the Delhi government in the Supreme Court.

  1. Power to appoint or deal with electricity commission or board.

Earlier, the then LG Najeeb Jung in September 2016 had rejected Delhi government appointee Krishna Saini as chairperson of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission on the basis that it was done without his approval.

Besides, appointment of Delhi government nominated directors on the boards of three power discoms were termed illegal by the High Court in 2016 for not having LG’s approval.

Powers given to the Centre:

  1. Delhi Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) cannot probe central government employees.
    Earlier, Delhi government claimed control over ACB but Lt Governor exercised authority over it. Mehra said that till 2014 this power was with the Delhi government until the NDA government brought a notification in 2014 and took away this right. He said the Delhi government challenged this notification in the high court but it was decided in favour of the Centre.

  2. Centre has the power to appoint Enquiry Commission.

This power lay with the Centre even before the verdict.

The undecided issue which has been referred by the apex court to larger bench:

  1. Control over service matters involving transfers and posting of officers.

In SC verdict Thursday the contentious issue of control over service matters involving transfer and posting of officers of Delhi government has been referred to a larger bench by the two judges.

The division bench differed on the issue of control of services in the national capital. Justice AK Sikri said transfer and posting of secretaries and Heads of Departments can be done by LG while in case of officer of Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS) and Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Service (DANIPS), the files need to be sent from the council of ministers to the LG.

Justice Ashok Bhushan, however, differed with the opinion expressed by Justice Sikri and said that under the law, Delhi government has no power to exercise control over services.

Earlier, this issue was with the Centre. It was challenged by the Delhi government in the Supreme Court.

PTI

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