Ordinance to Nullify SC Decision Favouring Delhi Govt

The article is about the promulgation of  Ordinance to Nullify SC Decision as the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023 by the President in an attempt to nullify the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of the Delhi government.  (Source: Indian Express )


What is the context?

An Ordinance to Nullify SC Decision of 11th May favoring the Delhi government brought recently. The President promulgated the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023. Its goal is to strengthen the Lieutenant Governor’s role in the capital’s administration.

The Union government also approached the Supreme Court to seek a review of its May 11 judgment. The Centre’s move came just a day after it introduced an ordinance. The Ordinance to Nullify SC Decision aims to establish a National Capital Civil Service Authority, which will possess the authority to recommend the transfer and posting of all Group A officers and officers of DANICS serving in Delhi.

New Statutory Authority – National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA):

The Ordinance establishes the National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA) headed by the elected Chief Minister of Delhi. The NCCSA will make recommendations to the Lieutenant Governor on transfer postings, vigilance, and other matters.

Overruling Elected Chief Minister:

The elected Chief Minister’s decisions can be overruled by the two senior bureaucrats, who have the authority to decide matters by majority vote. The Lieutenant Governor’s decision becomes final, reversing the Supreme Court’s verdict.

Contempt of Court Allegations:
  • Delhi Cabinet Minister Atishi alleges the Ordinance is a clear case of contempt of court, going against the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court’s constitution bench. The motive is believed to be stripping powers from the Kejriwal Government.
  • Arvind Kejriwal accuses the Lieutenant Governor of not implementing the Supreme Court’s decision on services and claims the Centre aims to reverse the court order through the ordinance.
Background of the Supreme Court Case:

In 2015, a Union Home Ministry notification granted control over “services” to the Lieutenant Governor. The Delhi government challenged this in the Delhi High Court, which upheld the notification. The case eventually reached a larger constitution bench.

Centre’s Argument:

The Centre argues that the 2018 ruling did not analyze crucial phrases in Article 239AA(3)(a) of the Constitution. It contends that Delhi cannot exercise power over services, as no Union Territory has such authority, except for explicitly allowed issues.

Supreme Court’s Decision:

The Supreme Court concludes that Delhi has a unique constitutional status under article 239AA, different from other Union Territories. It infers from previous judgments that the majority view favored giving power to regulate services to the Delhi government.

Extent of Delhi’s Powers:

As per the Supreme Court’s verdict, Delhi’s legislative and executive powers over services exclude land, police, and public order. However, Delhi retains power over services relevant to day-to-day administration, such as Indian administrative services.

Conclusion and Way Ahead:

The Centre’s ordinance to nullify the Supreme Court’s decision leads to a contentious situation between the Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor. This conflict highlights the ongoing struggle for power and control in the capital’s administration. Further legal proceedings and possible amendments are needed to clarify Delhi’s powers within the constitutional framework.

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