‘Senior bureaucrats not listening’: Delhi govt seeks urgent hearing against Services Act in SC

Supreme Court.

New Delhi: The Delhi government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that senior bureaucrats were not carrying out orders of the elected government while urging for an urgent hearing on its plea against the contentious law giving the Lieutenant Governor’s (L-G) an upper hand in matters related to transfers and postings of senior officials in the national capital.

“I cannot express the agony of the administration. Civil servants are not listening or carrying out orders. There is an extreme urgency,” submitted senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for the Delhi government.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud declined to pass any order directing urgent listing of the petition filed by the Delhi government challenging the constitutionality of the law brought by the Parliament on control of services.

“There’re older Constitution Bench matters which we are listing & two seven judge bench matters coming up in the next two weeks… They have been pending for years,” CJI Chandrachud told Singhvi.

“Let me take the call. I can also see what Bench is available,” he said while granting liberty to mention the matter afresh after four weeks.

The apex court directed that pleadings in the case be completed in the meantime. It also appointed nodal counsel for both sides and directed preparation of the common compilation.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Delhi L-G, said that questions for determination will have to be prepared afresh.

At this, CJI Chandrachud said: “Dr. Singhvi and you (Mr. Jain) can sit over a cup of coffee and give us agreed issues.”

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will hear the Delhi government’s plea against the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2023 replacing the ordinance promulgated earlier by the Centre over transfers and postings of senior bureaucrats in the national capital.

The Ordinance, now replaced by a law, was brought after a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had handed over control over services in Delhi, excluding police, public order and land, to the elected government.

Delhi’s AAP government had moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Ordinance, saying it violates the scheme of federal, democratic governance entrenched for the NCTD in Article 239AA and is manifestly arbitrary, and sought an immediate stay.


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