Row Over Control of Services in the National Capital: Centre’s Ordinance After Supreme Court’s Verdict

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After the Supreme Court’s May 11 verdict, the Central Government goes against it by promulgating an ordinance to create an authority for posting and transferring Group-A officers in Delhi

New Delhi: On the 11 of May 2023, a five-judge Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court of India comprising of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha gave a unanimous verdict where they clearly stated that the elected Government of Delhi had complete power and control over all the services except those of “land, law and order”. Those controls belong to the Centre while the “real power stays with the elected government”. This decision was celebrated across Delhi by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporters and by Delhi Chief Minister (CM) Aravind Kejriwal as “a huge win for democracy”.

A week after this, on the 19th of May, 2023, the Centre issued an ordinance to create an authority for posting and transferring Group-A officers in Delhi. It states that “there shall be an authority to be known as the National Capital Civil Service Authority to exercise the powers conferred on, and discharge the functions assigned to it”. Furthermore, it said, “Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, the National Capital Civil Service Authority shall have the responsibility to recommend the transfers and postings of all the Group ‘A’ officers and officers of DANICS serving in the affairs of the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi but not officers serving in connection with any subject matter”.

The abovementioned authority will consist of the CM of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT) as its chairperson, the principal home secretary, and the chief secretary as Member-Secretaries to the authority.

The ordinance also stated, “The central government, in consultation with authority, shall determine the nature and the categories of officers and other employees required to assist the authority in the discharge of its functions and provide the authority with such officers and employees, as it may deem fit.” This is not in compliance with the top Court’s May 11 order. It was labelled as “personal vengeance, conspiring and contempt of Court” by the Kejriwal government.


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