AAP suffers setback in 'Jung' against Jung

Published on May 29, 2015 12:24:24 PM

In a jolt to the AAP government in Delhi, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered a stay on the Delhi High Court’s observation that lieutenant governor, who represents the Centre, is "bound to act upon the aid and advice" of the council of ministers of Delhi.

The case is related to the bitter battle for power between the Aam Aadmi Party government and the Centre in Delhi. A home ministry notification issued recently indicated that chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had limited powers in Delhi. Earlier this week, the High Court had called the notification 'suspect' and stated that the lieutenant governor, who is a representative of the Centre, is "bound to act upon the aid and advice" of the council of Ministers of Delhi.

Hearing a petition filed by the Centre challenging the tagging of the notification as ‘suspect’ by the High Court, Supreme Court stayed the High Court’s observation and said that that the High Court observations will not have any bearing on the case filed by the Delhi government challenging the notification. The SC has asked the Delhi government to file reply within three weeks on the matter and also issued notice to the government on Centre's appeal against the HC order allowing the Delhi Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) to take action against bureaucrats.

The power tussle between Kejriwal and lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung has its roots in Delhi’s distinctive position as a union territory operating as the Capital, with the state government having no control over several important departments and organizations functioning under the lieutenant governor, who reports to the Centre.

The war lines were drawn when Kejriwal took the seat of chief minister in February and reached its pinnacle two weeks ago, when Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung chose an IAS officer as acting Chief Secretary. Objecting to the appointment, Kejriwal alleged that the officer, Shakuntala Gamlin, had been partial to private power firm and was not fit to be Delhi's top bureaucrat.