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Constitution bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud to hear case on transfers and posting of officers in Delhi

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The dispute in Supreme Court between the Central and Delhi governments regarding which government has administrative control over the transfers and postings of officers in Delhi shall be heard by the Constitution bench of Justice DY Chandrachud.

The matter which was earlier put before the bench of CJI Ramana was referred to Justice DY Chandrachud.

The case will be heard by a Constitution after a 3-judge bench had decided to send it to a larger bench as requested by the Central Government.

The State government of Delhi in its case said that the elected Government of Delhi has been excluded by the Central government from exercising any administrative control over the important bureaucrats and officers and that the officers are continuing to act on the orders of the Central government through the Lieutenant Governor (LG).

A Constitution bench of the Apex court in 2018 had in 2018 interpreted Article 239AA of the Constitution, which talks of special provisions for the National Capital Territory.

The Constitution bench had in length discuss the peculiar status of the NCT and the powers of the Delhi Legislative Assembly, it also had debated the LG and their interplay in the case.

The judgement by the Court said that the LG cannot act independently without the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.

During that time, all the appeals pertaining to individual aspects including services were placed before a regular Bench for adjudication based on the Constitution Bench judgment.

On April 14, 2019 the regular bench gave its verdict, however the two judges on the Bench – Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan differed on the issue of ‘services’ under Schedule VII, List II, Entry 41 of the Constitution of India the judges differed the matter was referred to a three-judge bench. Later on the three-judge bench referred the matter to the Constitution Bench on Centre’s request.

The reason for referring it to a five-judge bench was that the majority judgment of the Constitution Bench did not consider Article 239AA(3) of the Constitution, which is the pivotal and crucial aspect of the said provision.

Appearing for Arvind Kejriwal, Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, opposed the request of referral, contending that such reference would amount to review of the 2018 judgment.

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