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Administrative services in Delhi

Disregarding Constitution, court, citizens

The article discusses the struggle for control over administrative services in Delhi. The Supreme Court recognized the government’s authority, but the Central government nullified it through an ordinance, affecting accountability and cooperative federalism. 

What is the context?

In recent developments, the Delhi government‘s authority over administrative services witnessed both emancipation and subversion. The Supreme Court recognized the government’s control, while the Central government nullified it through an ordinance.

Struggles with Central Control
  • Since 2015, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs transferred service control from the elected Delhi government to the Lieutenant Governor (LG).
  • Constant changes in secretaries and frequent transfers of officials hindered effective governance and impeded decision-making.
  • Lack of functional control prevented the government from addressing vacancies and taking action against errant officers.
  • Honest officials were penalized, while clarity on whose directions to follow remained elusive.
Emancipation: Supreme Court’s Recognition
  • The Supreme Court’s judgment affirmed the elected Delhi government’s control over services, reestablishing accountability and efficiency.
  • The government sought to make transfers and postings based on performance and take action against non-compliant officials.
  • Officials felt empowered and were eager to contribute to Delhi’s development and welfare.
Subversion: Implications of the Services Ordinance
  • The Services ordinance returns service control to the unelected LG, granting discretionary powers.
  • The National Capital Civil Service Authority, dominated by Centre-appointed bureaucrats, undermines the Chief Minister’s views.
  • It enables the appointment of non-compliant officers and undermines accountability, stifling cooperative federalism.
  • The ordinance institutionalizes the Centre’s tendency to undermine non-BJP ruled governments.
Conclusion and Way Forward:
  • The Supreme Court’s judgment upholds the value of citizen’s votes and cooperative federalism.
  • The Services ordinance, however, disempowers opposition-run governments and disenfranchises the people.
  • The Delhi government remains committed to delivering on its promises despite adversity.
  • While hopes lie with the Supreme Court to uphold justice, the Delhi government perseveres in the face of challenges.

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