t is a welcome judgment of the Supreme Court of India on powers and accountability of the Lt. Governor of Delhi and that of the elected government of Delhi. The bluff of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been called. No more the Aam Aadmi Party Government of National Capital Territory would be able to put the blame on the Lt. Governor for its failure to administer Delhi and failure to deliver. It begins the end of chaos and anarchy that prevailed in the Delhi Government ever since Kejriwal became the Chief Minister. One sentence of the operative part of the judgment makes everything clear — “There is no place for absolutism and anarchy”. Kejriwal practiced anarchy while in power.
Kejriwal and his team henceforth would not have the luxury of staging ‘dharna’ and demonstration on the precincts of Lt. Governor’s office in an air-conditioned hall.
The celebrations in the camp of Aam Aadmi Party over the judgment appear to be misplaced. The Supreme Court has made it clear that the Delhi Government would have no say in Land, Law and Order and the Police. The five- judge Constitution Bench bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra has said, “The authorities in power should constantly remind themselves that they are constitutional functionaries and they have the responsibility to ensure that the fundamental purpose of administration is the welfare of the people in an ethical manner. There is a requirement of discussion and deliberation. The fine nuances are to be dwelled upon with mutual respect. Neither of the authorities should feel that they have been lionized. They should feel that they are serving the constitutional norms, values and concepts”.
Arvind Kejriwal’s dream of becoming absolute monarch of Delhi has been shattered. The Aam Aadmi Party leader wanted complete control of the land of Delhi which is now under Delhi Development Authority (Central Government). Kejriwal wanted a say in the appointment of Delhi Police Commissioner and also the power to appoint and transfer officers of Delhi Police right from the Station House Officer of thana to Deputy Commissioners of Delhi Police.
This is for the first time that a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has interpreted Article 239 AA of Constitution in detail under which the assembly and the government of National Capital Territory was created by 69th amendment of the Constitution in 1991. The judgment inter alia says, “The proviso to Article 239AA is in the nature of a protector to safeguard the interests of the Union on matters of national interest in relation to the affairs of the National Capital Territory”. It is the Lt. Governor of Delhi who has to look after this aspect of the subject.
Kejriwal and his Ministers can’t take decisions of public importance and keep the Lt. Governor in the dark. The judgment says, “The scheme as delineated by 1991 Act and 1993 Rules clearly indicates that LG has to be kept informed of all proposals, agendas and decisions taken. The purpose of communication of all decisions is to keep him posted with the administration of Delhi. The communication of all decisions is necessary to enable him to go through so as to enable him to exercise the powers as conceded to him under the proviso to subclause (4) as well as under 1991 Act and 1993 Rules. The purpose of communication is not to obtain the concurrence of LG”.
What Kejriwal has been shouting from the rooftop in the past? If “mohalla clinics” are not working, the AAP Government said it was because of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. If there is water crisis in Delhi, Kejriwal said it was because of interference of the Prime Minister’s Office through Lt Governor of Delhi. If the people of Delhi are not getting ration it is because of the Modi Government. He stopped sort of telling that wheat, rice and sugar meant for the people are being diverted to the BJP Office. The sum and substance of allegations against the BJP and the Central Government were that even wind can’t blow in Delhi without permission of the Central Government. If some areas of Delhi stinks because of a strike by the Municipal staff as the garbage piles up on streets because of non-payment of salary it is because Central Government does not release funds.
The Supreme Court judgment has said that in case of any difference between the Delhi Government and the Lt. Governor, the later will refer the matter to the President of India for arbitration. The dispute between the Lt. Governor and Delhi Government would not be settled on streets by dharnas and hartals.
The verdict says, “The authorities in power should constantly remind themselves that they are constitutional functionaries and they have the responsibility to ensure that the fundamental purpose of administration is the welfare of the people in an ethical manner. There is a requirement of discussion and deliberation. The fine nuances are to be dwelled upon with mutual respect. Neither of the authorities should feel that they have been lionized. They should feel that they are serving the constitutional norms, values and concepts”.
R K SINHA
(The writer is a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha)