Longer Wait For SC Hearing On Pending Issues In Kejriwal Vs LG Turf War

Longer Wait For SC Hearing On Pending Issues In Kejriwal Vs LG Turf War

The bench of Justice A K Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan of the Supreme Court today did not give a specific date on which it would hear pending petitions pertaining to Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal government’s turf war with the Lt Governor.

After it was urgently mentioned, Justice Sikri had yesterday evening told Senior advocates P Chidambaram and Indira Jaising who appeared for Delhi government that it might be able to specify a date today morning.

They had mentioned it as the case was on list several times since July 18 when it was listed first but never came up for hearing.

However Justice Sikri said today: It will remain on board and we may be able to tell next week as to when we can hear it.

 The one related to control over services,that is the power to appoint and transfer bureaucrats is the most crucial one pending before a two judge bench, Chidambaram had mentioned several times.

THE ISSUES HANGING FIRE

The pending issues include Delhi government’s challenge to MHA notification of May 2015, July 2014 bringing services under LG, Validity of MHA notification disallowing anti-corruption bureau to take cognizance of offences against Central government officials, Kejriwal  govt’s challenge to HC order which said Delhi government did not have power to appoint enquiry commissions without LG’s approval, six petitions challenging Revenue Department notification revising minimum rates of agricultural land without LG approval, challenge to order passed by  Delhi Power Department appointing nominee directors on the board of electricity distribution companies without placing it before the LG,  challenge to HC order declaring as illegal Delhi's Dept of Power notification issuing policy directions to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission regarding disruption in electricity supply to consumers & compensation and Centre challenging HC order that declared as illegal, the appointment of a special public prosecutor in a corruption case related to issue of fitness certificates to commercial vehicles“Government is paralyzed today. We are not in a position to appoint or transfer officers. What is the purpose of the recent constitution bench judgment then?. There is some urgency”, Chidambaram recently told the bench.

 Senior advocate Indira Jaising had said “ Delhi government officials are refusing to sign even the court documents. Ultimately a minister had to sign the affidavits relating to the application filed in this case”

By its July 4 significant judgment,  Supreme Court had restricted the jurisdiction of LG to matters of land, police and public order.

It also said he could not take any independent decisions and is bound by the aid and advice of council of ministers headed by the Chief Minister.

Within six days of it, on July 10, the AAP government moved the Supreme Court  again seeking early hearing of the pending petitions wherein it wants the apex court to conclusively adjudicate as to who holds the jurisdiction over services,  powers of the Anti-Corruption Bureau and to appoint enquiry commissions etc.

This is because the Centre contends that the SC constitution bench judgment had merely drawn a line regarding the powers of both the LG and Chief Minister and had not quashed or stayed any of the Delhi High Court’s order upholding several of it’s notifications or actions of the Governor.

Immediately after the SC judgment, Kejriwal sent a letter to  Baijal urging to fully implement the apex court order giving primacy to the Delhi government. But LG responded that appeals were pending before a division bench in the top court and accused the AAP government of drawing “premature conclusions”.

Kejriwal contends that SC ruling made it amply clear that the executive powers of Centre are limited to three subjects only (land, police and public order) only and SC striking down the Home Ministry’s 2015 notification brining services under it is a mere formality.