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MHA notification of May 21, 2015 became the flashpoint

MHA notification of May 21, 2015 became the flashpoint

NEW DELHI: On May 21, 2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a notification, which took away the power of transfer posting and also ACB from the Delhi government. According to the MHA notification, the LG has powers regarding public order, police, land and services and this means primacy in postings and transfers of officers belonging to Central services. This was the flashpoint between the AAP and Centre which began this whole legal battle in Delhi.

The MHA clarified that in matters like public order, including police and land, the LG was competent to issues orders. As per the legal opinion, LG was not bound to consult the council of ministers but may consult if he/she so desired. Article 239AA of the Constitution clearly stated that the Legislative Assembly of Delhi shall not have the power to make laws relating to subjects such as public order, police and land.

"Further, the Union Territories Cadre consisting of Indian Administrative Services and Indian Police Service personnel is common to Union Territories of Delhi, Chandigarh... Which is administered by the Central Government through the MHA and similarly DANICS and DANIPS are common services catering to the requirement of the Union Territories...As such, it is clear that the NCT of Delhi does not have its own State Public Services. Thus, "Services" will fall within this category," the notification noted.

The notification also noted, "The Anti-Corruption Branch Police Station shall not take any cognizance of offences against officers, employees and functionaries of the Central Government."

After the Supreme Court verdict which came on Thursday the ACB fall remained with the Centre and also status quo would be maintained on the services matter. On the services matter as the two bench judges disagreed with each other, the matter was passed to a higher bench which would be appointed by the Chief Justice, hence the services will remain under the LG till the time judiciary takes a different stand.

After the May 2015 MHA notification which came as then LG Najib Jung dismissed all the bureaucratic appointments by the AAP government noting that the appointments do not come under state's purview, the MHA intervened and issues this notification. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh reportedly had a discussion of two rounds before issuing the final notification.

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