Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday hailed the Supreme Court verdict on the power tussle between the Delhi government and the Centre as a 'big victory' for the people of the city and for democracy.
The apex court has held that Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal does not have independent decision-making powers, and is bound to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.
'A big victory for the people of Delhi...a big victory for democracy...,' Kejriwal tweeted soon after the verdict.
His deputy Manish Sisodia termed the judgement 'historic' and recalled the landmark mandate that the people of Delhi had given to the Aam Aadmi Paarty in the assembly elections in February 2015 when the party won 67 of 70 seats.
"On behalf of the people of Delhi, I want to thank the Supreme Court, and the judges for this historic decision. They have pronounced that the people of Delhi are supreme," Sisodia told reporters.
"We have not yet read the judgment in full, but what the court has said that people are supreme, elected government will be supreme, and LG has no power to act arbitrarily ('LG ke paas manmani karne ki power nahn hai')," he added.
The 'historic mandate' given to a new party was for for development, welfare of the people and to facilitate resumption of long-pending works, Sisodia said.
However, 'hurdles' were thrown in the way of the functioning of an elected government through a 'wilful interpretation' of the Constitution, he added.
"Whether it was the issue of installation of CCTV cameras, ration scheme, transfer and posting (of officials), interference was being created," the deputy chief minister added.
‘Can Modiji revoke 3 years 5 months of chaos in Delhi? Will Delhi people forgive BJP for ruining 3 years 5 months (sic)?’ AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said in a tweet.
He drew a parallel between the previous Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government in Delhi and the current AAP regime and pointed out how the ruling party was obstructed from working in the national capital.
‘AAP Govt was formed in Feb 2015, three months later, In May 2015, Modi Govt brought this notification which took away 'services' from AAP Govt. This means Sheila Dixit Govt had all control over her officers/employees, Kejriwal Govt was left with zero control (sic).’
‘Modi Govt was formed in May 2014 & just 2 months later, Modi Govt brought a notification which took away powers of Anti-Corruption branch. Means Sheila Dixit had ACB for 15 years but was taken away because Modi was too scared of Arvind Kejriwal and his ACB (sic),’ Bhardwaj said in a series of tweets.
He also said the provision of aid and advice of the elected government was binding on the L-G during Dikshit's rule, adding that it was done away with after Kejriwal became the chief minister.
‘Under Sheila Dixit Govt, Aid & Advice of Elected Govt was binding on LG. LG was not free to reject schemes. For Kejriwal Govt, LG is free to take decisions, has been rejecting all important decisions of Govt. CCTV, Door step delivery of Ration, Muholla clinics rejected or delayed (sic),’ the AAP leader tweeted.
The apex court decision is a major victory for Kejriwal's AAP government, which has been in a constant tug of war with LG Anil Baijal over the power wielded by the two branches of the executive.
The judgment pronounced by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who was heading a five judge Constitution bench, also held that the LG cannot act as an 'obstructionist'.
The Supreme Court said that except for three issues, including land and law and order, the Delhi government has the power to legislate and govern on other issues.
The L-G needs to work harmoniously with the Council of Ministers and an attempt should be made to settle the difference of opinion with discussions, the apex court said.
Meanwhile, the Congress said that the Supreme Court verdict had done away with all the possibilities of a 'blame game' between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the AAP and the two parties should now ensure that the development of the national capital, which was 'stalled' for years, started again.
"Since the apex court has clarified about the powers in Delhi, we hope that the development, which has been stalled ever since the Congress was voted out of power over four years ago, will start again," Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken told PTI.
He said the L-G and Kejriwal should stop the 'blame game' now and develop Delhi as the Congress did during its 15-year rule (1998-2013).