The Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday called the Supreme Court’s split verdict on the jurisdiction over bureaucrats in the National Capital Territory unfortunate, while the Bharatiya Janata Party welcomed the ruling.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said at a press conference that the order was against the people of the city and the Constitution, and wondered how the government would run if an elected government cannot transfer its officers.
“All power to transfer [officials] is with a party that won three seats in Delhi Assembly,” Kejriwal said, referring to the Bharatiya Janata Party, which rules at the Centre. The BJP won three of 70 seats in the 2015 Assembly elections while the Aam Aadmi Party won the rest. The BJP has won one more seat since then.
“For 40 years, the Anti-Corruption Bureau was with the Delhi government, now it is not,” Kejriwal said. “So if someone complains to the chief minister about corruption, how will action be taken?”
He appealed to the people of Delhi to strengthen the government. “We will fight for full statehood and betterment of Delhi,” he added.
Earlier in the day, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court referred the matter of jusrisdiction of bureaucrats to a larger bench, while delivering concurring verdicts on other matters such as the power to set up commissions of inquiry, control over the anti-corruption bureau, and the postings and transfers of bureaucrats. The court delivered the judgement on a batch of petitions that had challenged notifications issued by the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi amid a power tussle with the Centre.
Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said it was unfortunate there was no clarity in the court’s judgement. The people of Delhi will continue to suffer, he added.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi unit said the AAP government “should humbly accept the order”, PTI reported.
‘Kejriwal an anarchist’: BJP
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra criticised Kejriwal for describing the Supreme Court verdict as “unfortunate”. “We can’t believe a democratically elected chief minister can use this type of language for the Supreme Court,” ANI quoted Patra as saying. “He has always been an anarchist, tampering with rules while putting the Constitution at stake is his method.”
Union minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju claimed Kejriwal and the Congress mistrusted every constitutional body. “They criticise the Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, Supreme Court and other institutions,” he said. “Anarchy is in their scheme of things... they don’t trust anybody, they just want to rule and loot.”
Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit urged Kejriwal to make changes and said power did does depend on the number of seats won in an election. “The Constitution has defined the power Delhi has, it is not unlimited,” she said. “The Centre, the Lieutenant Governor and the Home Ministry handle a lot of things. So, fighting is no the solution, make changes if needed.”
BJP leader Vijay Goel said the verdict was a big jolt to the AAP. He alleged the state government has not worked to develop the national capital and the court did not think the government was capable of handling more responsibilities, reported Times Now.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal said at the press conference that the Congress has “more or less ruled out” an alliance with his party in Delhi for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, PTI reported. On Wednesday, several Opposition leaders, including Kejriwal and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, gathered at Jantar Mantar in Delhi to attend the “Remove Dictatorship, Save Democracy” rally against the government.