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Supreme Court issues notice to Centre on AAP government plea against Delhi Services Ordinance

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Union government, seeking its response within two weeks on a petition filed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government against the Delhi Services Ordinance.

While impleading Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Vinai Kumar Saxena as a respondent in the case, the Bench of Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha listed the matter for further hearing on July 17.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government in Delhi had moved the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutional validity of the Delhi Services Ordinance, which gave overriding powers to the Delhi LG to oversee the transfers and postings of civil servants in the national capital.

The Bench further agreed to hear on next Monday, the prayer seeking stay on LG’s decision to terminate 437 consultants, who were appointed by the Delhi government.

The plea by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government said that the ordinance wrests control over civil servants serving in Delhi from the elected government of Delhi and gives it to the unelected Lieutenant Governor.

The Central government came out with the ordinance in May, a little over a week after the Supreme Court held that the Delhi government was entitled to control all services, including the decisions related to posting and transfer of Indian Administrative Service officers in the national capital.

The Constitution Bench had ruled that the governance of elected governments of States could not be taken over by the Central government.

Filed by Advocate Shadan Farasat, the petition contended that the ordinance:

i) violated the scheme of federal, democratic governance for the National Capital Territory of Delhi in Article 239AA of the Constitution;

ii) was manifestly arbitrary;

iii) legislatively overruled or reviewed a Constitution Bench judgment;

iv) was an impermissible and unconstitutional abuse of ordinance-making powers under Article 123 of the Constitution.

Appearing for the AAP government, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the ordinance gave a carte blanche to the Chief Secretary of Delhi to disobey the elected government of the national capital.

Representing the Union of India, Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta argued that the decision to remove the consultants was based on some shocking facts.

(Case title: Government of NCT of Delhi vs Union of India and ors)

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