Mon, 04 Dec 2023

New Delhi [India], September 27 (ANI): The Delhi government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that civil servants in the city are not following government orders and urged the apex court to list early its plea challenging the validity of the Centre's Government of NCTD (Amendment) Act, 2023, passed by both Houses of Parliament and for which the President has given assent.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra asked the Delhi government and the Centre to prepare within four weeks a compilation in the case.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for the Delhi government mentioned the matter for early listing saying"There is extraordinary urgency in this case. The civil servants are not following orders."The bench said it is currently occupied with Constitution bench matters and Delhi government's plea will be listed for hearing.

Singhvi said that this matter should have priority over others since the issue has to be set straight some way or other.

"Since this matter will close interpretation this way or that way... Court can fit me in any Constitution bench in between...," the senior advocate added.

"Complete all the written submissions and make a common compilation in four weeks so that the matter is ripe for hearing. We will give liberty to mention it after that," said the bench.

Earlier, the apex court allowed the Delhi government's application seeking to amend its plea where it challenged the validity of the Centre's May 19 Services Ordinance, to now challenge the Government of NCTD (Amendment) Act, 2023.

The Act gives overriding powers to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi to oversee the transfers and postings of civil servants in the national capital.

The Parliament has cleared the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill 2023, also known as the Delhi Services Bill, paving the way for the Centre's proposed legislation on the postings and transfers of bureaucrats in the national capital.

Before that, the top court had referred to the five-judge Constitution bench plea of the Delhi government challenging the constitutional validity of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023.

Approaching the apex court, the Aam Aadmi Party government said that the Centre's Ordinance is "unconstitutional".

The impugned Ordinance destroys the scheme of federal, Westminster-style democratic governance that is constitutionally guaranteed for NCTD in Article 239AA, added the plea.

The Centre had on May 19 promulgated the Ordinance to create an authority for the transfer and posting of IAS and DANICS officers in Delhi, with the Delhi government calling the move a circumvention of the Supreme Court verdict on control of services.

The Ordinance was brought to amend the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 and it circumvents the Supreme Court judgement in the Centre vs Delhi case.

The Ordinance had come a week after the Supreme Court handed over the control of services in Delhi, excluding police, public order and land, to the elected government, and sought to set up a National Capital Civil Service Authority for the transfer of and disciplinary proceedings against Group-A officers.

On May 11 the Supreme Court ruled that the division of administrative powers between the Union and Delhi government "must be respected" and held that the Delhi government has "legislative and executive power over services" in the national capital, including the bureaucrats, except those relating to public order, police and land.

A five-judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices MR Shah, Justice Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha had said, "The division of administrative powers between the Union and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD) as explained... must be respected."The apex court in its 105-page-judgement had said that the government of Delhi is not similar to other Union Territories. (ANI)

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