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Will have to concede public order, police, land outside your purview, SC tells Delhi govt

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New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that in three entries — public order, police, and land — of the State list, the Delhi government cannot legislate as per the Constitutions’s Article 239AA (Special provisions with respect to Delhi).

Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, representing the Delhi government, submitted before a five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that civil servants serving in the national capital territory (NCT) should be accountable to the people through the elected government. He argued that the government cannot function if it does not have control over services as the exclusion of civil servants will negate governance.

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The bench, also comprising Justices M.R. Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli, and P.S. Narasimha, referred to three entries such as public order, police, and land of the State list of subjects where the Delhi government cannot legislate as per Article 239AA.

“You (Delhi government) will have to concede one thing that Entry 1 (public order), 2 (police) and 18 (land) (of the State list) are outside your purview,” and if civil servants are posted with departments dealing with these, “then it will be outside your executive power also”, it said.

Singhvi submitted: “There is a famous saying in Hindi ‘Ek miyan mein do talwar nahi rah sakte (there cannot be two swords in one sheath)” as he emphasised that services were at the core of the dispute.

The top court is hearing the legal tussle between Delhi government and Centre on control of services.

During the day-long hearing, Singhvi said the civil servants should be accountable to the ministers, the minister is accountable to the legislature, and then finally the MLAs are accountable to the people. He also referred to the constitution bench judgment on the Delhi-Centre row and added that now no power has been left with the city government.

The top court will continue to hear the matter on Wednesday.

–IANS

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