AAP calls SC verdict on Centre-Delhi services row ‘tight slap’ on mission to topple govts

New Delhi:┬áThe AAP on Thursday termed the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Centre-Delhi services row a “tight slap” on the mission to topple governments through “unconstitutional ways” while Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the judgment will ensure increased pace of development.

The chief minister also expressed his “heartfelt thanks” to the Supreme Court for “doing justice to the people of Delhi”.

Following the top court verdict, Kejriwal has called a meeting with his cabinet ministers.

In a unanimous verdict, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Delhi government has legislative and executive powers over services.

Welcoming the verdict, the AAP said in a tweet in Hindi, ”The elected government will have the power of transfer-posting of officers. Officers will work only through the elected government.” The Lt Governor will have no power over the officers to stop the work of the people of Delhi, the party said.

Gopal Rai, the state convener of the AAP’s Delhi unit, said at a press conference, ”This is a tight slap on the Modi government and its mission to topple elected governments through unconstitutional methods. The Modi government had done the work of usurping the powers of the Delhi government through the Lt Governor and the Ministry of Home Affairs. ”The Modi government was pushing democracy into darkness by destabilising governments.” They were running a ”campaign to paralyse the work being done by the Delhi government”, and the verdict is a ”ray of hope in darkness”, he added.

Services Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said Delhi’s people have won the battle that was being fought by Kejriwal for nearly nine years.

”Today, this battle has established one thing in the country — there is one institution that will stand up and restore order whenever there will be a threat. That institution is the apex court. ”Today, the Supreme Court has delivered a historic verdict. I feel that in today’s time this verdict will be remembered in a long time,” he added.

Calling Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud a national hero, the minister said the people of Delhi are indebted to him.

”When we were small, we would watch Amitabh Bachchan playing a police inspector in a film and dream that we will become a policeman when we grow up. Similarly, if children would see doctor or a lawyer in a film, they would want to become that. For every kid who understands even a little bit about the state of affairs in the country and judiciary, there is one hero — Chief Justice Chandrachud. Now they will say that they want to become a judge when they grow up. The country has got a hero in him,” he said. He also thanked the five-judge constitution bench on behalf of the people of Delhi.

”We bow down before them. They have got back their right and it is a tight slap on the Centre,” he said.

Delhi Minister Atishi said the verdict has ”safeguarded the country’s constitution and democracy”. ”The prime minister cannot tolerate that some other party wins. Wherever the BJP loses, unconstitutionally they carry out ‘Operation Lotus’ and poach MLAs there. When they could not topple the AAP government through these ways, they attempted to take away its powers,” she noted.

She added that the Supreme Court has given a clear verdict that the government chosen by the people has powers to take decisions for them.

”When people have chosen Kejriwal, then he will take a decision on behalf of the people of Delhi. Thanks to the Supreme Court, they have not just given a decision but also safeguarded the country’s democracy and Constitution,” she said. Explaining what the verdict means, Bharadwaj said all types of officers were reporting to the Centre via the Lt Governor earlier. ”If an officer was inefficient, there was no way of shifting him to some other department or controlling them. But now, this verdict has made it clear that executive powers and legislative powers lie with the government. It has been reiterated that the Lt Governor is bound by the aid and advice of the government in areas apart from police, public order and land,” he said.

Asked whether the government can now refuse to share papers related to the chief minister’s residence with the Lt Governor, he said, ”I think it should not be looked at in terms of the chief minister’s residence or the Lt Governor’s residence. It is a matter of principles and we will act as per principles.” Atishi added that the Lt Governor can only see papers but he does not have any right to take decisions on them.

AAP Rajya Sabha Raghav Chadha called the verdict a ”landmark decision” and said it sends a stern message. ”Satyamev Jayate. Delhi wins. Hon’ble Supreme Court’s landmark judgment sends a stern message that officers working with the government of Delhi are meant to serve (the) people of Delhi through the elected government and not unelected usurpers parachuted by Centre to stall governance, namely LG,” Chadha tweeted. Atishi called the verdict ”historic” and said earlier in a tweet in Hindi, ”After a long battle, the Supreme Court got the Arvind Kejriwal government its right. Now, no one will be able to obstruct the work of the people of Delhi.

”This historic decision is a win for the people of Delhi. Now Delhi will progress at double the speed. Congratulations everyone!” Hearing the Centre versus the Delhi government case over the demarcation of power, a constitution bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said an elected government needs to have control over the administration.

It refused to agree with Justice Ashok Bhushan’s 2019 judgment that the city government has no power over the issue of services.

The constitution bench was set up to hear the legal issue concerning the scope of legislative and executive powers of the Centre and the National Capital Territory government over control of services in Delhi.