THE wrangle between the Centre and the Delhi government over control of the state’s bureaucracy is getting murkier as the former is brazenly trying to undermine the latter. The Arvind Kejriwal-led government got a boost on May 11 when the Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench ruled in its favour, saying that the Delhi government had ‘legislative and executive power over services’, except those relating to public order, police and land. Hailing the verdict as a vindication of AAP’s stand, the Kejriwal government promptly transferred Services Secretary Ashish More. The Centre, in a bid to overturn the SC ruling, on Friday, promulgated an ordinance to create the National Capital Civil Service Authority that would have powers over officers’ postings and transfers. While the authority will be chaired by the CM, the final say in case of a dispute will be that of the Centre-appointed L-G. The next day, the Centre moved the SC, seeking a review of the May 11 verdict.
What has raised eyebrows is the timing of the Centre’s moves. It showed undue haste rather than waiting for Parliament to be in session to introduce a Bill. It also chose the eve of the SC’s six-week break to issue the ordinance. The AAP is justified in crying foul. The Centre should have allowed the events to unfold as per the SC’s direction. Then, if it still found something amiss, it could have intervened to rectify the situation.
Interestingly, the Delhi-Centre tussle is an old one. The Delhi Assembly, first formed in 1952, was abolished in 1956 and replaced by the Delhi Metropolitan Council in 1966. Since the Assembly’s revival in 1993, whenever different parties have been in power at the Centre and in Delhi, governance has been impacted by power games. The situation is no different this time.
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