ANI Photo | SC allows Delhi govt to amend plea to challenge law on services in place of Ordinance

The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the Delhi government’s application seeking to amend its plea where it challenged the validity of the Centre’s May 19 Services Ordinance, to now challenge the Government of NCTD (Amendment) Act, 2023, passed by both Houses of Parliament and the assent given by the President.
The Act gives overriding powers to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi to oversee the transfers and postings of civil servants in the national capital.
Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the Delhi government, mentioned the application before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud that earlier the challenge was directed against the Ordinance which has now become law after clearance from Parliament.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of DY Chandrachud permitted the amendment to the petition as the Centre said it has no objection to it. The bench granted four weeks time to the Centre to file its response to the amended plea.
Recently, the Parliament cleared the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill 2023, also known as the Delhi Services Bill, paving the way for the Centre’s proposed legislation on the postings and transfers of bureaucrats in the national capital.
Earlier, the top court had referred to the five-judge Constitution bench plea of Delhi government challenging the constitutional validity of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023.
Approaching the apex court, the Aam Aadmi Party government said that the Centre’s Ordinance is “unconstitutional”. The impugned Ordinance destroys the scheme of federal, Westminster-style democratic governance that is constitutionally guaranteed for NCTD in Article 239AA, added the plea.
The Centre had on May 19 promulgated the Ordinance to create an authority for the transfer and posting of IAS and DANICS officers in Delhi, with the Delhi government calling the move a circumvention of the Supreme Court verdict on control of services.
The Ordinance was brought to amend the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 and it circumvents the Supreme Court judgement in the Centre vs. Delhi case.
The Ordinance had come a week after the Supreme Court handed over the control of services in Delhi, excluding police, public order and land, to the elected government, and sought to set up a National Capital Civil Service Authority for the transfer of and disciplinary proceedings against Group-A officers.
On May 11 the Supreme Court ruled that the division of administrative powers between the Union and Delhi government “must be respected” and held that the Delhi government has “legislative and executive power over services” in the national capital, including the bureaucrats, except those relating to public order, police and land.
A five-judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices MR Shah, Justice Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha had said, “The division of administrative powers between the Union and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD) as explained… must be respected.”
The apex court in its 105-page-judgement said that the government of Delhi is not similar to other Union Territories

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