Centre and AAP move court against each other

Rajat Kain

supreme_courtThe Union Home Ministry has approached the top court appealing against the orders passed by the Delhi High Court that had raised questions over the Central government’s notification which had held Delhi Lieutenant Governor as the administrative head of Anti-Corruption Branch, Delhi (ACB). Amid the rising impasse between the Delhi LG and Delhi government, the Home ministry had issued a notification last week stating that the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi will have an all-encompassing jurisdiction over the matters concerning law and order, transfers and postings in services, public order and police, and land.

The plea which is filed by the Home Secretary LC Goyal will be heard by the Supreme Court on Friday, at the earliest on priority.

Pitching their argument as the matter was mentioned before the apex court, the Centre claimed that “Everyday administration has become difficult in the national capital of Delhi after the honourable Delhi High Court order of 25th May”.

Earlier this week passing orders on the bail application of a Delhi police head constable arrested by the Delhi government’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) in a corruption case, Delhi High Court’s bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi ruled that ACB has the jurisdiction to arrest policemen.

“Since the applicant is a Delhi Police personnel serving the citizens in the NCTD and the functions of the Delhi Police personnel substantially and essentially relate to the affairs of the GNCTD, in my view, the ACB of the GNCTD has the jurisdiction to entertain and act on a complaint under the PC Act in respect of a Delhi Police officer or official, and to investigate and prosecute the crime,” the judge said while reading his order.

The Delhi High Court order further read, “Delhi shall not be administered by the President through LG with respect to the matters over which Legislative Assembly has authority to make laws. The ACB should take orders from the Delhi government and not Lieutenant Governor”.

The order had come at a time when the turf war between the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government and Narendra Modi-led Centre was soaring. The former had even publically applauded the order adding that the centre was “interfering and trying to run Delhi’s government by proxy”.

On the other hand, the Centre had contended how could an order be passed on the subject relating to the Home Ministry even without asking them to join the argument. Notably, the MHA was not served any notice by the Delhi High Court to put forth its views.

In between, the row between the two reached its peak as the Delhi government passed a resolution against the MHA notification in Delhi Assembly on Wednesday. The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) commands 67 out of 70 seats on the floor of Delhi Assembly.

And early on Thursday morning, Delhi government approached Delhi High Court as well against the MHA’s notification. The High Court will also hear the matter on Friday.