Who controls Delhi? The Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will hear the argument on the control of services and the division of powers between the Center and the NCT

Chief Justice N.V. Ramana said on Monday that he had appointed a five-judge constitution bench to hear the legal question regarding the scope of the Central and National Capital Territory government’s legislative and executive powers over the control services in Delhi. The CJI has said a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud will hear the dispute between the Center and the Delhi government.

The case was mentioned by a lawyer in front of the bench which also includes judges Hima Kohli and CT Ravikumar. On May 6, the Supreme Court had referred to a five-judge Constitutional Bench the question of the control of services in Delhi. The Supreme Court had said that the limited issue of service oversight was not dealt with by the Constitution bench, which dealt with all legal matters in detail.

“The limited question which has been referred to this bench concerns the extent of the legislative and executive powers of the Center and NCT Delhi with respect to the term services.” The Constitution bench of this Court, while interpreting Section 239AA(3)(a) of the Constitution, found no opportunity to specifically interpret the impact of the wordings thereof with respect to the entry 41 in the state list.

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“We therefore deem it appropriate to refer to the above limited question, for an authoritative statement by a bench of the Constitution…, he had said. Subsection 3(a) of 239AA (which deals with the Status and Power of Delhi in the Constitution, deals with the Legislative Power of the Delhi Legislative Assembly over matters enumerated in the State List or Concurrent List.

The central government had also requested a joint hearing of two separate motions from the Delhi government on the control of services and the challenge to the constitutional validity of the amended GNCTD Act 2021 and the trade rules transaction, which would give more powers respectively. to the Lieutenant Governor. , saying that they are prima facie correlated.

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The Delhi government’s plea stems from a split verdict on February 14, 2019, in which a two-judge bench consisting of Justices AK Sikri and Bhushan, both since retired, recommended to India’s Chief Justice that a bench of three judges be put in place to definitively decide the question of the control of services in the nation’s capital in view of its split verdict.

Judge Bhushan had ruled that the Delhi government had no power over the administrative services. Judge Sikri, however, made a distinction. He said the transfer or assignment of officers to the upper echelons of the bureaucracy (co-director and above) can only be done by the central government and that the advice of the lieutenant governor would prevail in the event of a discrepancy in opinion on matters relating to other bureaucrats. .

In the 2018 judgment, a bench of five Constitutional Justices unanimously ruled that the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi was bound by the assistance and guidance of the elected government, and that the two should work in harmony the with each other.

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