Centre reverses Supreme Court order, gives Delhi Lieutenant Governor final say on bureaucrats

The measure negates May 11 Supreme Court judgment that gave the AAP government the power to make laws and wield control over bureaucrats

May 20, 2023 12:38 am | Updated 11:58 am IST - New Delhi

Lt. Governor of Delhi Vinai Kumar Saxena. File

Lt. Governor of Delhi Vinai Kumar Saxena. File | Photo Credit: PTI

New Delhi

The Union government on Friday brought an ordinance designating the Lieutenant Governor (L-G) as the administrator of Delhi who will have the final say on the postings and transfer of all bureaucrats serving the Delhi government.

The ordinance, promulgated by President Droupadi Murmu, seeks to amend the Government of National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi Act, 1991 and effectively negates the May 11 Supreme Court judgment that gave the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government the power to make laws and wield control over bureaucrats deputed to the Delhi government.

The ordinance seeks to establish for the first time the National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA) which will be headed by the Chief Minister of Delhi, with the Chief Secretary and Principal Home Secretary of Delhi being the other two members.

“All matters required to be decided by the Authority shall be decided by majority of votes of the members present and voting,” read the ordinance, issued by the Union Law Ministry.

The authority will decide the transfer, posting and vigilance matters of all Group A officers and DANICS officers posted in Delhi through majority votes.

The ordinance stated that the L-G will pass orders to give effect to the recommendations passed by the NCCSA but can ask for the relevant material with regard to officers belonging to All India Services and DANICS serving the Delhi government.

“...in case the Lieutenant Governor differs with the recommendation made, whether based upon the material so called for or otherwise, the Lieutenant Governor may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, return the recommendation to the Authority for reconsideration by the Authority,” said the ordinance.

L-G’s decision final

However, the final decision will lie with the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, the ordinance said. “Provided also that in case of difference of opinion, the decision of the Lieutenant Governor shall be final,” it read.

Last week, in a unanimous verdict, the Supreme Court had held that the Delhi government had legislative and executive powers over services except for land, public order and police.

The ordinance stated that the Supreme Court passed the verdict “in the absence of any specific parliamentary legislation dealing with the subject of services.”

It added that “any decision taken or an event in the capital of the nation not only affects the residents of the national capital but also the rest of the country and at the same time has the potential of putting the national reputation, image, credibility and prestige at stake in the international global spectrum.”

It said the national capital belongs to the entire nation and it is in the larger national interest that the people of entire country have some role in the administration of the national capital through the democratically elected Central government.

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