New Delhi: Even as it refused to stay the Centre’s Ordinance to control the bureaucrats posted in Delhi, the Supreme Court today issued a notice to the Centre following Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party government’s writ petition challenging the Constitutional validity of the said ordinance.
An apex court bench, comprising Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha, also directed the Delhi government to make amendments to its plea and make Delhi’s Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) a party in the case.
“We will issue notice to amend the petition to implead the Lieutenant Governor,” Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, said.
The next hearing in the case to consider the prayer for interim relief is on July 17, 2023. The court will then also hear the Delhi government’s petition on the Lieutenant-Governor sacking 400 specialists like fellows, and research officers.
It may be mentioned that the said Ordinance – the Government of National Capital Territory (Amendment) Ordinance 2023 – was promulgated by the President on May 19, 2023, a week after a five-judge Supreme Court Constitution bench led by Chief Justice Chandrachud gave Delhi government control over bureaucrats.
After looking into whether the Central Government has administrative control over transfers and postings of civil servants in the national capital, the five-judge bench had then ruled that except for issues linked to land, police, and public order, the Lieutenant Governor has “no independent decision-making powers” under the Constitution.
However, the Ordinance promulgated merely a week after the Supreme Court order, overrides that order. As per the Ordinance, a committee comprising the Chief Minister and two senior bureaucrats would make recommendations to the Lieutenant Governor – who reports to the Centre – regarding the transfer and posting of civil servants. It says the L-G would have “sole discretion” in case there was a difference of opinion.
The Delhi government has argued that the Ordinance, while overturning the top court’s verdict, “completely sidelined the elected government… from control over its civil services”.
The case has its roots in 2018 when Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government complained to the court that its decisions were constantly overridden by the Lieutenant Governor, who acts as the Centre’s representative in Delhi.
– global bihari bureau