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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Supreme Court to appoint DERC ad hoc chairman as Delhi LG, CM fail to reach consensus | indian news

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court said on Thursday that he will appoint ad hoc chairman of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) after the new delhi lg and the prime minister informed the court through his lawyers that they had failed to reach a consensus on the issue.
“Since the issue will require a detailed hearing, pending adjudication, we will appoint an ad hoc chairperson,” said the SC bench consisting of CJI DY Chandrachud and judges PS Narasimha and Manoj Misra.
Chief lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Delhi government, told the court that discussions between the prime minister and the LG yielded no results.
Harish Salve, representing Delhi LG VK Saxena, said the high court can suggest names for the appointment of DERC President and he or she will be designated.
Attorney General Tushar Mehta, who represented the Center, said the institution cannot be headless and the bank can appoint the DERC chairman.
The court asked the parties to give the names of three or five retired judges from the Delhi high court so that the court could choose one of them to be appointed chairman of the DERC.
During the latest hearing in the case, the high court had asked LG VK Saxena and Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal to settle “political disputes” and discuss who could head the national capital’s energy regulator DERC, saying the two constitutional officials should engage in “serious governance work” away from the glare of publicity. The appointment of the president of the DERC has been the latest flashpoint between the two constitutional authorities.
Earlier during the hearing, the lawyers informed the high court that they had failed to reach a consensus on the issue. The court reacted to this, saying, “Can you both not pick a judge to appoint as DERC chair?”
The Delhi government had petitioned the High Court to challenge the appointment of former Allahabad High Court judge Justice Umesh Kumar as DERC chairman on the grounds that the lieutenant governor did so unilaterally without his consent.
The court noted that the petition raises a question of law regarding the validity of Section 45D of the GNCTD Act, as amended by the latest ordinance issued by the Center, which grants overriding powers to the lieutenant governor over the elected government in matters of appointments.
Seeking a stay of the notice that appointed Justice Kumar, the Delhi government had said that the LG’s unilateral action goes against the judgment of the five-judge Supreme Court Constitutional Court and also the spirit of Article 239AA of the Constitution.
Earlier, Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal approved (retired) Judge Rajeev Shrivastava for DERC chairman and the file was introduced by former Deputy Prime Minister Manish Sisodia, who also held the power portfolio. However, the file was returned by Lieutenant Governor Vinai Saxena with the recommendation to also consult with the Chief Justice of Delhi for the appointment.
However, Judge Shrivastava later ‘expressed his inability to accept the appointment’ due to ‘family commitments and requirements’.
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 on such appointments and ordered the government to appoint the DERC president within two weeks.

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