New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that the Delhi government has legislative and executive powers over services except for public order, police and land.
In a verdict delivered by a five-bench judge on Thursday, the apex court said an elected government needs to have control over the administration.
Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud headed the bench which said Union territory of Delhi has “sui generis (unique) character” and did not agree with the 2019 judgment of Justice Ashok Bhushan that the Delhi government has no power over the issue of services.
The bench said, “The National Capital Territory of Delhi government has legislative and executive powers over services sans…public order, police and land.”
The other members of the bench were Justices M R Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha.
According to the top court, the primacy of the Centre in administrative issues would abrogate the federal system and the principle of representative democracy.
“Democracy and federalism are part of the basic structure of the Constitution,” the CJI said.
If the officers stop reporting to ministers, the principle of collective responsibility is affected, the court said, adding that in a democratic set-up, the real power of administration must rest on the elected arm of the government.
The bench was set up to hear the legal issues connected with the scope of legislative and executive powers of the Centre and the National Capital Territory government.
The dispute was over the control of services in Delhi after the Union Home Ministry issued a notification in 2015, stating that it has control over services in Delhi.
The Delhi government led by Arvind Kejriwal challenged the notification.
The top court that heard the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Abhishek Manu Singhvi for the Centre and the Delhi government reserved its order on January 18.
All political parties, including the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) welcomed the judgment.