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Centre files review petition against SC order on Delhi civil services row

Transfers and postings of officials have been a bone of contention between the Centre and the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government since 2015

Supreme Court (Photo: Wikipedia)

Supreme Court (Photo: Wikipedia)

BS Web Team New Delhi

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Centre has filed a review petition before the Supreme Court seeking a review of its Constitution bench judgement on the service row between the BJP-led central government and AAP-led Delhi government.

In its May 11 judgement, the apex court's Constitution bench held that the Delhi government has the “legislative and executive power over services” in the national capital.

Yesterday, the Centre brought an Ordinance to create a National Capital Civil Service Authority that will have the power to recommend the transfer and posting of all Group A officers and officers of DANICS serving in Delhi.

The ordinance said that a permanent authority – the National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA) – which would be headed by the elected Chief Minister of Delhi in addition to the chief secretary and the principal secretary of the Home department will make recommendations to the LG regarding “transfer posting, vigilance and other incidental matters.”

However, in case of a clash, between NCCSA and L-G, the decision of the L-G "shall be final”.

The ordinance came a week after the Supreme Court handed over the control of services in Delhi to the elected government, excluding those related to police, public order and land, which the AAP deemed as a 'historic victory for the people of Delhi'.

Transfers and postings of officials have been a bone of contention between the Centre and the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government since 2015.

The Supreme Court gave a split verdict in 2019, and a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud a week ago held that the L-G can exercise executive power on behalf of the Centre only in the three areas of public order, police and land in Delhi as mentioned in Article 239AA(3)(a).

This meant the L-G does not have sweeping executive powers over the national capital.

After the Supreme Court order, the AAP government removed several officers in various departments. However, the ordinance today once again gives the Centre the power over transfers and postings of key officials.

Earlier on Friday, Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena had written to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, raising the issue of the alleged misbehaviour of Services Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj with Services Secretary Ashish More. To this, Kejriwal said he was "shocked" by the language of Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena's letter to him and the issues raised, and alleged that it smacked of "bickering".

The apex court, in its judgement, had said that the Centre and the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD) government share a unique federal relationship and they need to cooperate with each other to enhance the spirit of federalism and democracy.

Referring to the triple chain of command to ensure democratic accountability, it said civil servants were accountable to the ministers and they, in turn, were accountable to Parliament or the state legislatures. The bench said civil servants were required to be “politically neutral” and under the administrative control of ministers for implementing the day-to-day decisions of the elected government.

(With agency inputs)

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First Published: May 20 2023 | 12:45 PM IST

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