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New Delhi: The face-off between the Union and Delhi governments is headed for court after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led state government on Thursday moved the Delhi High Court, challenging the notification issued by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) curtailing its powers.

This comes a day after the centre filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the high court order in a bribery case, which ruled against parts of the same notification. Both cases will be heard by the respective courts on Friday.

The notification issued by the MHA on 21 May supported the lieutenant-governor (L-G) in the ongoing jurisdiction tussle between Najeeb Jung and the state government.

Unlike other states, in Delhi, matters of law and order and land fall within the MHA’s purview, which sets the ground for potential conflicts between Centre and state.

In a moral victory for AAP, the high court on Monday ruled that issuing such a notification was beyond the powers of the central government and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) can investigate Delhi Police personnel, who are employees of the central government.

The centre’s petition was mentioned before a vacation bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday. In its plea, the centre said there was need for a clear interpretation of Article 239AA of the Constitution with regard to the distribution of powers between the Delhi government and the L-G.

The additional solicitor general submitted that a clarification was needed as the high court’s observations and findings had come while dealing with the bail application of a policeman who was arrested by the ACB.

Earlier, the Delhi government organized a two-day special session of the assembly to pass a resolution against the notification issued by the MHA. In his address to the assembly, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal attacked the centre for trying to destabilize the state government and killing the anti-corruption law.

“The fight is on two levels. First, if the government is not able to do any work, you can blame the centre. Second, you can mobilize voters through these confrontational issues," said Badri Narayan, an Uttar Pradesh-based political analyst. “The Delhi government is trying to acquire legitimacy," he added.

The tussle has its genesis in the appointment of civil servant Shakuntala Gamlin as acting chief secretary of Delhi by the L-G on 15 May, despite opposition from the state government.

PTI contributed to this story.

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