In a shot in the arm for the Aam Aadmi Party, the Delhi High Court ruled on Monday that the Delhi government’s Anti-corruption Branch (ACB) has the jurisdiction to arrest police personnel. The ruling comes in the middle of a high-stakes jurisdiction battle between the Delhi and the Union governments.The court said the Centre’s recent notification barring the ACB from acting against Union government employees was “suspect” as it could not exercise executive power over matters falling under the legislative competence of the Delhi government. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal hailed the judgment, saying it would give his party new strength and resolve to fight against corruption.
“The ACB has been in existence for 40 years. The ACB was entitled to act against officers of any department in the territory of Delhi, be it the Delhi Police, the Municipal Corporation or the Delhi government. But during our 49-day government, we filed a case against one of the most powerful persons in the country, Mukesh Ambani. Things changed after that,” Mr Kejriwal said.
The court’s ruling was part of a judgment denying bail to a head constable arrested by the ACB on a bribery charge. Anil Kumar had contested his arrest, pointing to a notification passed by the Home Ministry last July saying the Branch’s jurisdiction extended only to employees of the Delhi government. It was contested that entries 1 and 2 on the State List of the Constitution — Public Order and Police — stood excluded from the legislative competence of the Delhi government under the Constitution.
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