Centre deliberately misinterpreting SC verdict: Sisodia

New Delhi: Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday accused the Centre of “misinterpreting” the Supreme Court verdict on the Delhi government’s powers vis-a-vis the Lt Governor whom he dubbed a “pawn”.

Holding a copy of the Constitution of India in his hand in the Assembly, Sisodia compared the central government with the British Raj.

Sisodia said that the Centre shouldn’t misinterpret the Constitution because that is how the British were kicked out and the “L-G may be sacked too”.

Addressing the Leader of Opposition and BJP MLA Vijender Gupta, Sisodia said: “According to the Constitution and the apex court order, your pawn (L-G) does not have any independent decision-making powers. He should only act on the aid and advice of the state government.”

Sisodia, a senior Aam Aadmi Party leader, claimed that just as the British thought they were indestructible, the Centre too is thinking so by “openly defying the Supreme Court orders”.

The 5-Judge Constitution Bench on July 4 ruled that the executive powers in Delhi — except for law and order, police and land — were vested with the elected government and the L-G was bound to act on the “aid and advise” of the government.

Lt Governor Anil Baijal, however, kept the ‘services’ subject with him by citing a 2015 Home Ministry notification which, in turn, referred to the constitutional provisions to keep ‘Services’ out of the Delhi government’s purview.

The Services Department handles posting and transfers, and the appointments of IAS and other officers with the Delhi government.

Terming ‘services’ as the most crucial element in the smooth governance of Delhi, Sisodia cited examples from the past when he claimed Baijal “deliberately obstructed” the Aam Aadmi Party government’s work.

“We had (come up with) a loan scheme to help over 400 students in their education, but the L-G waived it by telling us to take permission from other departments,” Sisodia said on the fourth day of the Assembly’s monsoon session.

Similarly, he said, the L-G made one or the other excuse regarding the Arvind Kejriwal government’s Mohalla Clinics project, delaying it by 101 days, and the funds for the families of martyrs by telling the government to get permission from the Home and Defence Ministries.

Sisodia also presented the first batch of supplementary demands for grants for 2018-19. These were later approved by the Assembly.

These include grant of Rs 104 crore for General Administration Department, Rs 20 crore for administration of justice, Rs 4.34 crore for social welfare, and Rs 4.75 crore for development.