Analysis: How Delhi HC verdict may scuttle Centre’s plan to take over anti-corruption agency
The Delhi high court ruling that the anti-corruption branch can probe Delhi Police officers, may end up scuttling the home ministry’s plan to get the Lieutenant Governor take charge of the anti-graft agency.
The high court had rejected the plea of a Delhi policeman arrested on bribery charges, who cited a July 2014 home ministry notification to claim that he was outside the jurisdiction of the Delhi government’s anticorruption branch.
Justice Vipin Sanghi also observed that a May 21 notification reiterating the July 2014 order restricting the anti-corruption branch’s powers also appeared to be flawed.
The high court had rejected the argument that the anti-corruption branch could be prevented from arresting central government employees by the home ministry since police and public order did not come under the AAP government, but the LG.
Instead, Justice Sanghi ruled that Delhi’s elected government had the powers over the anti-corruption branch since criminal law and criminal procedure - Entry 1 and 2 in the Concurrent List - were within the legislative competence of the Delhi assembly.
The Centre has moved the Supreme Court against the high court verdict but there is grudging admiration for Justice Sanghi’s interpretation.
“We hadn’t thought about this,” an official said, conceding that the government’s argument in recent years was only centered around the fact that the home ministry would have the last word because the anti-corruption branch was a police station.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi too had reflected this view last week when he told HT: “If police is a subject which is with the LG under the constitution, how can the anti-corruption branch as a police station be with the NCT government (council of ministers headed by the CM)?”
The high court’s ruling now explains how.
An immediate implication of this ruling is that the home ministry, or the Lieutenant Governor, are unlikely to try pushing the envelope till the Supreme Court settles the dispute.
The official, however, added that the verdict was on a sticky wicket when it held that the Lieutenant Governor was bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers on matters where the assembly was competent to enact laws. This is contrary to the constitutional provision that empowers the Lieutenant Governor to have a difference of opinion with the council of ministers. In case the differences are irreconcilable, the constitution requires the LG to refer the dispute to the Centre for a final view. In more than one case, this view has been upheld by the Supreme Court in context of the 1963 Union Territories Act, which had similar provision.
Chandigarh Chandigarh administrator Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday gave in-principle approval for a synthetic running track at Sukhna Lake. UT adviser Dharam Pal, said, “The Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee had earlier given its go-ahead for the proposal. Next, the detailed plan and cost estimates will be prepared; and then, tenders will be floated for the project.” A UT official said the proposed track is part of the administration's efforts to give Sukhna Lake a major facelift.
The National Highway Authority of India has approved two over-bridges, which are likely to reduce travel time between Kalka and Zirakpur and alleviate traffic jams on the stretch by next year. NHAI has already floated tenders for the 60-m wide over-bridges, which will be constructed at a cost of ₹50 crore. It has invited bids for the “construction and site improvement of the four-lane national highway (NH-22) on the Zirakpur-Parwanoo junction.”
Fifteen students had a narrow escape after their school bus skidded into a waterlogged open drain in Daulat Singhwala village in Phabat area of Zirakpur. The bus, which was ferrying students of Blue Bird High School, Sector 16, Panchkula, was making way for another school bus when it skidded into the overflowing drain. The bus tilted in the drain, but passersby and parents were able to rescue the children through the driver's window.
Tricity residents woke up to heavy rainfall for the second time this month on Wednesday. Three people went missing after a taxi, shuttling two commuters, was swept away in a flashflood in the Patiala-Ki-Rao rivulet as the driver attempted to cross the causeway in Tanda Village near Nayagaon. The owner of the vehicle, Rakesh Kumar told the police that Gaurav had called him saying two people, travelling to Baddi, had booked his cab.
Chandigarh received 97mm rainfall between 6am and 8.30am, the heaviest rain in July since 2017, as per the India Meteorological Department. It received another 0.9mm of rainfall during the day. The maximum precipitation till 8.30am was recorded at the Sector 39 observatory (97mm), 49.2mm rain was recorded at the airport observatory, 77.5mm rain in Panchkula and 74.5 mm rain in Mohali.