Centre, Kejriwal's AAP govt set for bigger fight over Delhi's powers as tussle reaches SC
The Union home ministry filed an appeal in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, contesting a high court order that restored the power of the Delhi government’s anti-corruption branch (ACB) to investigate central government employees in graft cases.
An NDA government notification issued last week barred the ACB from registering cases against central officers, including those from Delhi Police, escalating an all-out turf war between chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung.
“We moved a special leave petition (SLP) against the Delhi High Court order. We want the order stayed,” said a home ministry official.
The notification was issued in accordance with rules in the Constitution. The appeal could be mentioned before the vacation bench of the SC on Thursday.”
The high court found fault with the notification that had also curbed the AAP government’s administrative powers. Justice Vipin Sanghi called the notification “suspect” and noted that the mandate of the people “must be respected by the L-G”.
The court did not strike down the notification but gave an upper hand to AAP.
Sources said the home ministry found the court’s observations “uncalled for” since it already has pending proceedings related to the ACB which had filed, during Kejriwal’s 49-day tenure as chief minister in 2013-14, an FIR against former Union petroleum ministers Veerappa Moily and Murli Deora, Reliance Industries and top government officials for alleged graft in gas pricing.
Reliance challenged the powers of the ACB in the high court, saying the Delhi government’s agency has no authority to take such a step.
Sources said the home ministry’s SLP would also argue it was well within its rights to issue the notification and the high court had made the observations without hearing the Centre’s views.
The power struggle between Kejriwal and Jung is rooted in Delhi’s unique position as a union territory functioning as the Capital, with the state government having no say over several important departments and agencies that function under the lieutenant governor, who reports to the Centre.
The confrontation started after Jung appointed senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Gamlin as acting chief secretary against the wishes of the AAP government.
Karnataka Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu B Chavan appealed to people not to sacrifice cattle for the Bakrid festival while warning of stern action against the offenders. The Minister emphasised the Cow Slaughter Prohibition Act has already been in force in Karnataka. Generally, during the Bakrid festival, there is a tradition of sacrifice, for which livestock such as cow, ox, calf and camels are also used, said Chavan.
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.