On Monday, July 10th, the supreme court issued a notice to the centre and impleaded the L-G V.K. Saxena as the respondent regarding the petition against the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023 which gives the power to appoint the officials in the national capital in the hands of L-G.
The panel presided over by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha has agreed to hear to Delhi government’s plea for an interim stay on L-G’s executive order firing 437 independent consultants of the Delhi Legislative Assembly.
The AAP-led government, under Arvind Kejriwal’s leadership, has made a strong case, highlighting that the recently issued Ordinance was promptly enacted just eight days after the Supreme Court’s favorable ruling on May 11. The ruling emphasized the Delhi government’s power to enact laws and manage civil services in the national capital, while limiting the Lieutenant Governor’s influence to specific areas like public order, police, and land.
Presenting before a Bench presided over by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud, senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, and advocate Shadaan Farasat, emphasized that the order issued by the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) was a direct consequence of the enactment of a central ordinance that bestowed upon the L-G authority over the administration of ‘civil services’ in the capital city.
Representing the AAP government, senior advocate A.M. Sanghvi and advocate Shadaan Farasat argued that the NCT Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023, effectively gave the bureaucrats in Delhi a free hand to disobey their Ministers.
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The AAP government, represented by advocate Shadan Farasat, argues that the Ordinance has deprived the elected government of NCT Delhi of its authority over civil servants, transferring it to the unelected Lieutenant Governor. This raises concerns as there are no constitutional amendments addressing Article 239AA, which clearly states that power and control over services should rest with the elected government.
The government claims that the Lieutenant Governor’s expanded authority undermines the dual governance framework in Article 239AA. According to the Article, the Lieutenant Governor has discretion over issues outside the Delhi government’s jurisdiction, while in other matters, they must follow the Council of Ministers’ advice. This dual arrangement is vital for protecting Delhi’s federal system, as emphasized in the May 11th judgment.
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