Maharashtra political crisis: Supreme Court verdicts today in Delhi government vs Centre dispute

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The Supreme Court will on Thursday pronounce its most awaited verdicts in two crucial matters- the political turmoil triggered in Mahrashtra last year and the dispute between the Centre and the Delhi and government on who should control administrative services in the national capital.
The list of business for the day in the Supreme Court shows that both judgments are unanimous and will be delivered by a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud. The five-judge Constitution bench will include Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha will first pronounce judgement on the Delhi government’s plea relating to the control of services in the national capital.
The same bench will then pass its judgement on a batch of petitions filed by rival Shiv Sena groups after the June 2022 Maharashtra political crisis.
In August last year, the top court’s three-judge bench had referred to a five-judge Constitution bench the issues involved in the petition filed by rival groups of Shiv Sena, the Eknath Shinde group and the Uddhav Thackeray group in relation to the political crisis in the State that led to the fall of the tripartite Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
It had said that some of the issues involved in the Maharashtra political crisis may require a larger Constitution bench for consideration.
There are various petitions pending before the apex court filed by both factions of Shiv Sena.
On June 29, 2022, the top court gave a go-ahead to the floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly on June 30.
It had refused to stay the Maharashtra Governor’s direction to the then Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority support on the floor of the House on June 30.
After the apex court’s order, Uddhav Thackeray announced his resignation as the Chief Minister and Eknath Shinde was later sworn in as the Chief Minister.
Meanwhile in the Delhi government versus Lieutenant Governor, the top court has to decide the legal issue concerning the scope of legislative and executive powers of the Centre and Delhi government over control of services in the national capital.
The case was posted before a Constitution bench after a three-judge bench had in May 2021 decided to send it to a larger bench on a request by the Central government.
On February 14, 2019, a two-judge bench of the top court delivered a split verdict on the question of powers of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNTCD) and Union government over services and referred the matter to a three-judge Bench.
While Justice Ashok Bhushan had ruled the Delhi government has no power at all over administrative services, Justice AK Sikri, however, had said the transfer or posting of officers in top echelons of the bureaucracy (joint director and above) can only be done by the Central government and the view of the Lieutenant Governor would prevail in case of a difference of opinion for matters relating to other bureaucrats.
The two-judge bench which was hearing pleas on six matters pertaining to a long-running conflict between the Centre and the Delhi government, had given a unanimous order on the remaining five issues except the control over services.
Governance of the national capital has witnessed a power struggle between the Centre and the Delhi government since the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came to power in 2014.
Prior to February 2019 judgement, a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court had on July 4, 2018, laid down the broad parameters for governance of the national capital. In the landmark verdict, it had unanimously held that Delhi cannot be accorded the status of a State but clipped the powers of the LG saying he has no “independent decision-making power” and has to act on the aid and advice of the elected government.
It had restricted the jurisdiction of the LG to matters pertaining to land, police and public order and on all other matters, it held that the LG would have to act on the aid and advice of the council of ministers.