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Delhi vs Centre: SC delivers split verdict; refers it to larger bench

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday gave a split verdict on the contentious issue of who should control administrative services in Delhi. The judges who were hearing pleas on six matters pertaining to a conflict between the Centre and the AAP government in Delhi gave a unanimous order on the remaining five issues.

Both judges agreed that the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) will have control over the Anti-Corruption Bureau, as already notified by the Centre. The power to appoint inquiry commissions would also rest with the central government.

The bench ruled that the elected Delhi government will have the right to appoint public prosecutors, to decide land revenue matters and also to appoint or deal with the electricity commission or board.

On the most contentious issue where the verdict was divided, Justice Bhushan ruled the Delhi government has no power at all over administrative services. Justice Sikri, however, made a distinction by saying the transfer or posting of officers in top echelons of bureaucracy (joint director and above) can only be done by the central government.

In view of the differences, the bench said the matter needs to be referred to a larger bench and views expressed by both the judges should be placed before the CJI for the constitution of an appropriate bench.

 

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