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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

‘Rising above political bickering’: Supreme Court to Delhi LG VK Saxena and PM Arvind Kejriwal on appointment of DERC chief | indian news

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on monday he had a tip for the lieutenant governor of delhi VK Saxena and Delhi Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal “rise above political bickering.”
The high court’s comments came amid differences between the two constitutional officials over the appointment of the new chairman of the Delhi Energy Regulatory Commission (DERC).
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and Manoj Misra said: “The two constitutional officers must overcome political disputes and must give the DERC chairman a name.”
“Everything goes through the modalities of the Supreme Court? Both are constitutional officials. Can’t the LG and the prime minister sit down with a name that they both agree on?” the bench said.
“Much of government work happens away from the public eye. We are not so concerned about the DERC chair appointment that will be made. We are on the bigger issue. You both can sit down together and solve some problems,” the judges added.
The high court was hearing a petition filed by the Delhi government related to the appointment of the chairman of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, which has become the latest flash point between the AAP government and Delhi LG.
The high court ordered on July 4 to postpone the swearing-in ceremony for the appointment of (retired) Judge Umesh Kumar as Chairman of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) until July 11. He also said he will examine the constitutional validity of a provision in the Center’s recent Ordinance governing appointments such as the DERC chair.
The Delhi government has asked the Supreme Court to challenge the appointment of former Allahabad High Court judge Justice Umesh Kumar as DERC chairman on the grounds that it was done unilaterally by the deputy governor without his consent.
In January, the AAP government sent the name of retired judge Rajiv Kumar Shrivastava to LG VK Saxena for appointment as the power regulator’s new chairman. However, the file was returned by Lieutenant Governor Saxena with the recommendation to also consult with the Chief Justice of Delhi for the appointment. Later, the Delhi government approached the Supreme Court on April 12, blaming the LG for delaying the appointment.
On May 19, the high court noted that the LG is not supposed to act at its own discretion in such appointments and ordered the government to appoint the DERC president within two weeks.
Shrivastava, however, expressed his inability to take responsibility through a communication to LG on June 15, citing “family commitments and requirements.”
After that, on June 21, the Union Home Office appointed retired Allahabad High Court Judge Umesh Kumar as Chairman of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) under the provisions of the new ordinance.
Delhi’s energy minister, Atishi, alleged that the recruitment was done by “ignoring” the help and advice of the elected government, thus violating the constitution by appointing someone else to that position.
He said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had recommended Judge Sangeet Lodha (ret.) for the post on June 21, however the president “deliberately ignored” him.
On May 19, the Center enacted the National Capital Territory of Delhi Government (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023 to create a National Capital Civil Service Authority for the transfer and posting of A-Group civil servants in delhi.
The Ordinance came after a five-judge Constitutional Court from the Supreme Court handed control of services in Delhi, excluding police, public order and land, to the elected government.
Thereafter, the Delhi AAP government petitioned the Supreme Court to challenge the Ordinance’s constitutionality, saying it violates the federal and democratic governance scheme enshrined for the NCTD in Section 239AA and is manifestly arbitrary, and petitioned an immediate suspension.
On May 20, the Center also petitioned the Supreme Court to review the May 11 ruling.

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