Supreme Court may hear Delhi Government ‘Services’ issue after holidays

The Supreme Court on Tuesday indicated that it may hear a reference on the question whether the Delhi Government has control over ‘Services’ after the Dasara holidays.

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Chief Justice N.V. Ramana said a Bench would have to be constituted for hearing the case. The case was mentioned for urgent hearing by Delhi Government counsel, senior advocate Rahul Mehra, who impressed upon the court the importance of the issue at stake in the case.

“Since the entire administrative control vests currently with the Centre, it is an important issue and impedes on the ability of the Delhi Government to govern and implement its policy,” Mr. Mehra submitted.

The reference to a larger Bench dates back to February 14, 2019 when a Division Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan (both retired) gave a split opinion on the question of ‘Services’.

While Justice Bhushan held that the Delhi Government had no power over ‘Services’, Justice Sikri, who was the lead judge on the Bench, took the middle path.

Justice Bhushan, in his separate opinion, said Entry 41 of the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, dealing with ‘State Public Services’, was outside the purview of the Delhi Assembly.

Justice Sikri, on the other hand, had concluded that files on the transfers and postings of officers in the rank of Secretary, head of department and Joint Secretary could be directly submitted to the Lieutenant Governor (LG). As far as DANICS (Delhi Andamans Nicobar Islands Civil Service) cadre was concerned, the files could be processed through the Council of Ministers led by the Chief Minister to the LG, Justice Sikri wrote. Again, in case of a difference of opinion, the LG prevails.


Justice Sikri said there was a need to evolve a “just and fair mechanism”. Calling the Delhi Government’s arguments that assumption of full and exclusive powers over the transfers and postings is ‘doubtful’, Justice Sikri said the situation in Delhi was ‘peculiar’.

The judge had proposed setting up Civil Service Boards to take care of the service matters in case of grade one, two, three and four officers. The Board regarding grade four and three officers could be led by the Services Secretary and the other by the Chief Secretary.

The February 2019 judgment on individual appeals had followed a Constitution Bench verdict on July 4, 2018. That Bench had held that the LG was bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers of the National Capital Territory (NCT) Government.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 8:43:44 PM |

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