Aam Aadmi Party has won both the last two elections in Delhi defeating BJP. Delhi being the country’s Capital, there used to be always power struggle between the Union government and the Delhi State government. This has intensified in the last few years.
The Lieutenant Governor (LG) at Delhi virtually stands as a stumbling block in the administrative functioning of Delhi State Government. It is open for all to see the language used by the Governor. It is also a known fact that the Union government was backing the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. Even appointments and transfers of Delhi State government employees have made by the Governor unilaterally. This has paralyzed the functioning of the State government headed by AAP.
The BJP government issued the National Capital Territory Amendment Notification – 2015. According to that Act, Delhi is not a State and hence the state government has no powers. All the decisions are subject to the prior approval / permission of the LG. This created an impression that in a democratic country, the elected government had no powers.
The AAP initiated certain organizational actions and finally approached the Delhi Court, but could not get the relief as they expected. The Delhi High Court opined that the Union Government through LG has control over bureaucrats in administration of services in the National Capital. Left with no other option, the AAP government approached the Supreme Court. A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court heard the case and delivered its verdict on May 11, 2023.
It made clear that the Delhi State Government, elected by the people of Delhi, can only make appointments and transfers of civil servants working in the Delhi government.
Due to the fact that Delhi is the capital of India, only some powers are in the hands of the Union Government. Accordingly, the Supreme Court made it clear that only the employees working in the Delhi Police, Central Land Department and Law and Order Departments will be under the control of the central government, while other employees of the Delhi state government will be under the control of the state government, and that is the principle of democracy.
This judgment has far reaching implications, feel the political observers. They opined that federalism has been upheld through this judgment. Not able to come to terms with the judgement, the Union government has come with an ordinance negating the verdict.
This act of the Modi Government clearly depicts their philosophy towards States that are ruled by other political parties. We see many cases in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Telangana. Same is the situation in Punjab.
As a responsible Citizen of this country, everyone should condemn the ordinance promulgated by the Centre and raise their voice in unison to protect federalism and constitutional provisions.