Supreme Court verdict on who runs Delhi - chief minister Arvind Kejriwal or Lt Governor Anil Baijal
New Delhi: The Lieutenant Governor does not have independent decision-making powers and the real power must lie with the elected government, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in a big win for Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the fight for control of Delhi. "A balanced federal structure mandates that the union does not usurp all powers and the states enjoy freedom without any unsolicited interference from the centre," said the court, asserting that the Lt Governor must not be obstructionist. "A big victory for people of Delhi", said Mr Kejriwal, whose three-year rule in Delhi has been marked by protests and dharnas, most recently on sofas at Lt Governor Anil Baijal's home last month. "There is no room for absolutism and there is no room for anarchism also," the court said.
Here are the 10 latest developments:
- "The cabinet must convey all decisions to the Lieutenant Governor but his concurrence is not required in all matters," the court said, making it clear that the Lt Governor is not the boss.
- The top court emphasized that except for anything related to land, police and public order, the Lt Governor has no independent decision-making powers under the constitution.
- "The Lt Governor is not the governor but an administrator in a limited sense. He is bound by the advice of cabinet advice in matters other than those exempted," the court said.
- Reading out the verdict, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said the Lt Governor needs to work harmoniously with the Delhi government.
- In 2016, AAP went to the Supreme Court against the High Court's order that the Lt Governor is the administrative boss of Delhi. The top court, disagreeing with the high court on Wednesday, said the Lt Governor "should not act in a mechanical manner and stall decisions of the Delhi cabinet".
- "Now we don't have to get every file or decision cleared by the Lt Governor," said deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, wasting no time in ordering work on stalled decisions like the doorstep delivery of around 100 services.
- Supreme Court's landmark verdict comes days after Mr Kejriwal spent nine days protesting in a visitors' room at Lt Governor Anil Baijal's house to get his attention after a series of run-ins.
- AAP wanted Mr Baijal to step in and end an officers' boycott that started after Delhi's top bureaucrat, Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, alleged in February that he had been attacked by AAP lawmakers at a late night meeting at Mr Kejriwal's home.
- After the officers agreed to talks, Mr Kejriwal ended the protest but started a signature campaign for full statehood for Delhi, a demand that was pushed by the BJP until it took power at the centre.
- The tussle started months after the AAP swept to power in Delhi in 2015, winning 67 of 70 seats and reducing the BJP to only three. AAP alleges that the BJP-led central government has since been exacting revenge and using the Lt Governor to block every decision taken by the Kejriwal government.
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