On 11th May 2023, The judgment of a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court(SC) of India ruled in favour of the elected Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi(GNCTD) and stated that the GNCTD has legislative and executive control over services, except law and order and land, in Delhi.
- The SC also highlighted the significance of the people’s mandate in a democracy expressed through an elected government.
The 5 judge constitution Bench:
The bench is headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud and also comprises Justices M R Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli, and P S Narasimha.
iThe SC stated that the legislative power of NCT Delhi under Entry 41 of the State List of the 7th Schedule to the Constitution would extend to Indian Administrative Service(IAS) and it shall control them even if they are not recruited by the NCT Delhi and it would not extend to the services which come under land, law and order and police.
- Lieutenant Governor(LG) shall be bound by the decision of NCT Delhi over services apart from land, police and law and order.
ii.The SC stated that the LG shall exercise powers under the administrative role as entrusted by the president.
iii.SC also highlighted that the Executive administration can only extend to matters which fall outside the legislative assembly. It is limited to the powers entrusted by President and it cannot mean administration over the entire NCTD.
i.In 2018, the 5-judge bench headed by then CJI Dipak Misra, ruled that the LG could not act independently without the aid and advice of the Delhi government’s ministers.
ii.In 2018, the Constitution Bench of the SC interpreted Article 239AA of the Constitution, which contains special provisions with respect to the NCT.
iii.In 2019 two judges Justices Ashok Bhushan and AK Sikri, delivered a split verdict which stated that all services were outside of the Delhi government’s purview.
Article 239AA specifically excludes land, police and public order from the purview of the legislative powers of the Delhi government.
GoI Passes (GNCTD) (Amendment) Ordinance 2023
The government of India (GoI) passed the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi(GNCTD) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023, promulgated by President Droupadi Murmu, and reinstated the final authority of the Delhi LG in transfers and postings of bureaucrats serving Delhi Government.
- This strengthens the role of LG as an administrator empowered to take decisions on proposals considered or decided by the elected government in Delhi.
- The GNCTD amendment ordinance 2023 amends the GNCTD Act, 1991 and nullified the Supreme Court order (11th May 2023) which handed over the control of services in Delhi, excluding police, public order and land, to the elected Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.
i.The Amendment to the GNCTD Act has created a “National Capital Civil Service Authority(NCCSA)” which will make recommendations to the LG on matters concerning transfer posting, vigilance and other incidental matters against All Group A officials (IAS) and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (Civil) Services (DANICS) cadre officers.
- The NCCSA will be headed by the elected Chief Minister(CM) of Delhi and the Chief Secretary of GNCTD and the Principal Secretary of the Home Department of GNCTD will be the members.
i.The matters decided by the NCCSA shall be decided by a majority of votes of members present and voting.
ii.Section 45H of the Ordinance states that in case of a difference of opinion, the decision of the LG is final.
- This infers that the bureaucrats appointed by the GoI can overrule the elected CM.
i.The GNCTD Ordinance introduced a new “Part IV A” to the GNCTD Act, with 13 provisions under Section 45 A to Section 45-M titled “Provisions relating to the maintenance of the democratic and administrative balance in the governance of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.”
ii.The Ordinance also states that appointments to the various officials in Delhi would be made through the “Public Service Commissions for National Capital Territory of Delhi”.
- Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will be responsible for appointment to the posts in Group ‘A’ and Group ‘B’ gazetted posts and the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) will be responsible for appointment to the Group ‘B’ non-gazetted and Group ‘C’ non-gazetted posts.
Chief Minister– Arvind Kejriwal
Governor– Vinai Kumar Saxena
Stadium– R.K. Khanna Stadium; Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium
Festival– Mango Festival; Qutub Festival