In a huge win for the Delhi government, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favour of them over control on services in the national capital and held that it must have control over bureaucrats.
It said that in a democratic form of government, the real power of administration must rest on the elected arm of the government.
The court however said that the legislative power over services excludes public order, police and land.
Taking to Twitter, Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief, Arvind Kejriwal said that the pace of development in Delhi will increase manifold with this decision.
"Heartfelt thanks to the Hon'ble Supreme Court for doing justice to the people of Delhi. With this decision, the pace of development of Delhi will increase manifold. Democracy won," he tweeted.
The apex court gave its verdict in the case related to the administrative control over transfers and postings of civil servants in Delhi.
The court said that control over services shall not extend to entries related to public order, police and land. Delhi government similar to other States represents the representative form of government and any further expansion of the Union's power will be contrary to the Constitutional scheme.
It held that if administrative services are excluded from the legislative and executive domains, the ministers would be excluded from controlling the civil servants who are to implement the executive decisions.
It said that states too have the power but the executive power of the State will be subject to the law existing of the Union. It has to be ensured that the governance of states is not taken over by the Union.
If a democratically elected government is not given the power to control the officers, the principle of the triple chain of accountability will be redundant, the court said.
It said if the officers stop reporting to the ministers or do not abide by their directions, the principle of collective responsibility is affected. The officers feel they are insulated from the control of the government, which will dilute accountability and affect governance.
The judgment was pronounced by a five-judge Constitution bench of CJI Chandrachud and Justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha.
The bench had reserved its judgment on January 18 this year.
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.
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.