New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today hailed the Supreme Court verdict on the power tussle between the Delhi government and the Centre as a “big victory” for the people of the city and for democracy.
The apex court has held that Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal does not have independent decision-making powers, and is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.
“A big victory for the people of Delhi…a big victory for democracy…,” Kejriwal tweeted soon after the verdict.
His deputy Manish Sisodia termed the judgement “historic” and recalled the landmark mandate that the people of Delhi had given to the Aam Aadmi Paarty (AAP) in the Assembly elections in February 2015 when the party won 67 of 70 seats.
“On behalf of the people of Delhi, I want to thank the Supreme Court, and the judges for this historic decision. They have pronounced that the people of Delhi are supreme,” Sisodia told reporters.
“We have not yet read the judgement in full, but what the court has said that people are supreme, elected government will be supreme, and LG has no power to act arbitrarily (‘LG ke paas manmani karne ki power nahn hai’),” he added.
The “historic mandate” given to a new party was for for development, welfare of the people and to facilitate resumption of long-pending works, Sisodia said.
However, “hurdles” were thrown in the way of the functioning of an elected government through a “wilful interpretation” of the Constitution, he added.
“Whether it was the issue of installation of CCTV cameras, ration scheme, transfer and posting (of officials), interference was being created,” the deputy chief minister added.
The apex court decision is a major victory for Kejriwal’s AAP government, which has been in a constant tug of war with LG Anil Baijal over the power wielded by the two branches of the executive.
The judgement pronounced by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who was heading a five judge Constitution bench, also held that the LG cannot act as an “obstructionist”.
The Supreme Court said that except for three issues, including land and law and order, the Delhi government has the power to legislate and govern on other issues.
The LG needs to work harmoniously with the Council of Ministers and an attempt should be made to settle the difference of opinion with discussions, the apex court said.