SC agrees Delhi-Centre tussle hits development but won’t intervene

  • Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 22, 2015 10:57 IST

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to act as a mediator between the Delhi government and the Centre even as it agreed that the tussle between the two had hampered development in the Capital.

“We are aware of the problem faced by the people of Delhi because of the constant fight,” a bench headed by Justice TS Thakur told petitioner Tapesh Bagati who wanted the SC to order the Kejriwal government to abide by the Constitution.

But it declined to entertain Bagati’s public interest litigation (PIL) on grounds that it cannot interfere in matters of governance. And people will give their verdict when the time comes, if they continue to fight.

“On one side you have the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the other led by Arvind Kejriwal. If they do not resolve their disputes and continue to create governance problems then people will pass an appropriate verdict at the appropriate time,” the bench told the counsel representing Bagati.

It said the court cannot issue a mandamus if there is deficit in governance, even if it led to administrative failure. “The court shall only intervene when you bring before us an order unconstitutional in law,” the court said.

The bench was amused on reading the directions sought by Bagati. In a lighter vein it said SC orders cannot be like “amrit dhara.” “Wish it was true that SC passes one order and all problems get solved. Does it require to be stated that one needs to follow what is laid down in the constitution,” the bench said.

Bagati’s counsel told the court the lack of governance had crippled the functioning of Delhi. Civic bodies had failed to function properly hygiene had been neglected, leading to dengue deaths and spread of the disease.

The bench, however, said it was for the two governments to sit together and resolve the disputes and give good governance. It is not for the courts to step into such disputes, it said.

“There is a governance deficit in Delhi because of the constitutional breakdown. People are suffering. There was a 12-day strike by sanitation workers of municipal bodies that has led to Dengue outbreak….The next election is four-and-a-half-years away. If it’s not resolved, only God can help Delhi,” Bagati told HT.

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