Published on: 11 May 2023 at 23:04 IST
On Thursday, the Supreme Court of India highlighted the significance of preventing the central government from taking control of the states’ governance. The court issued a significant verdict confirming that the government of the national capital territory of Delhi had control over administrative services, except for those related to public order, police, and land.
The constitution bench, composed of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli, and PS Narasimha, thoroughly analyzed the characteristics of Indian federalism and the respective roles of the Centre and the states.
The bench stated that federalism is a fundamental feature of the Constitution and is necessary to represent the diverse interests of India’s multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and multi-linguistic society.
The bench added that federalism accommodates diverse needs while reconciling the desire for commonality with the desire for autonomy. The bench further emphasized that acknowledging regional aspirations strengthens the unity of the country and embodies the spirit of democracy.
“Thus, in any federal Constitution, at a minimum, there is a dual polity, that is, two sets of government operate: one at the level of the national government and the second at the level of the regional federal units. These dual sets of government, elected by ‘We the People’ in two separate electoral processes, are a dual manifestation of the public will. The priorities of these two sets of governments which manifest in a federal system are not just bound to be different but are intended to be different.”
The Supreme Court of India has declared that the central government should not take over the governance of states, emphasizing the importance of federalism in India.
The court’s decision confirms that the national capital territory of Delhi has control over administrative services, except for those related to public order, police, and land. The bench examined Indian federalism and the limits of executive authority for both the central government and states.
The court concluded that the Constitution’s architects limited the executive power of the central government in states to uphold federalism and representative democracy. The national capital territory of Delhi has a unique federal relationship with the union and is not considered a state or a common union territory.
The court noted the ‘asymmetric’ federal model between the union and the Delhi government and concluded that the Delhi government should have control over services, except for those outside its legislative domain.
The ruling is a relief for the Aam Aadmi Party, which has been in conflict with the Lieutenant Governor over sharing power in Delhi. The dispute arose from the question of whether the Government of NCT of Delhi had legislative and executive powers over ‘services’ under the Constitution and whether officers allocated to Delhi by the Union of India came under the control of the Delhi government.