What is elected Govt’s purpose in Delhi if Centre controls bureaucrats: SC to Centre

Supreme Court of India [Representational Image]
Supreme Court of India [Representational Image] File: ANI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday queried the Central government, asking what purpose would be served in having an elected government in Delhi if the capital's administration and control over bureaucrats are under the control of the Centre.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Central government, submitted before a constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud that a Union Territory like Delhi, is an extension of the Union, administered by the Union through its own officers.

The top court is hearing a case between the Delhi government and Centre in connection with the administrative control over transfers and postings of civil servants.

The bench - also comprising Justices M.R. Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli, and P.S. Narasimha - queried Mehta, if everything is at the beck and call of the Centre, then what is the point of having an elected government? Mehta contended that though the administrator is answerable to the minister, the administrative control in connection with the officers' vests with the Centre.

At this, the bench further queried that if an officer is not discharging his function properly, the Delhi government will have no role to say have that officer transferred.

Mehta said: "We are on administrative control like who posts, who transfers etc."

Noting that according to the Centre, the Delhi government has no jurisdiction in postings like in education, environment etc, the top court asked Mehta: "What is the use?"

The Centre had emphasized that there was a different historical framework for Delhi and it is a miniaturised India.

The top court queried then what was the point of Delhi government having legislative powers if the executive control was with the Centre? And, if an officer is not discharging his role, Delhi government has no role to shift him and get someone else?

It further queried if the Delhi Assembly has the legislative power to make laws with respect to all items in State and concurrent list?

Mehta pointed out that Delhi being a Union Territory cannot have its own cadre of officers as per Article 308 of the Constitution.

The top court will continue to hear arguments in the matter on January 17.

The top court, in May last year, had referred to a five-judge constitution bench the issue of control of services in Delhi. It had said the limited issue of control over services was not dealt with by the constitution bench which elaborately tackled all legal questions.

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