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  • 13 January, 2023

  • 5 Min Read

Conflict over Control of Services

Conflict over Control of Services between the Delhi Government and the Centre

  • A recent disagreement over service control between the Delhi government and the Centre is being heard by a five-judge Supreme Court Constitution Bench.

Details about the news:

  • The Supreme Court is now hearing a case involving disagreements between the Union and the Delhi government about the management of transfers and the general operation of administrative services in Delhi's National Capital Territory (NCT).

What is the conflict?

  • Few believe that the Delhi government has any control whatsoever over administrative services.
  • While other sources claim that the Lieutenant Governor can make transfers and postings of Secretaries, Heads of Department, and other Government of India officers in the scale of Joint Secretary and above and that for other levels, including DANICS (Delhi, Andaman, and Nicobar Islands Civil Service) officers, the files can be routed through the Chief Minister to LG.
  • Opinion of the Centre: The Centre requested a referral to a larger Bench, claiming that because Delhi is the nation's capital and "face of the nation," it needs the authority to transfer and post personnel there.
  • According to the Delhi government, a government cannot function if it does not have control over services since doing so will nullify governance and make officials unaccountable to the public.

Importance of a five-judge court:

  • The court agreed that, in accordance with Article 145(3) of the Constitution, a Constitution Bench would need to issue an authoritative ruling with regard to the specific question of the scope of the legislative and executive powers of the Centre and the NCT of Delhi with regard to the term "services."
  • A Constitution Bench made up of at least five judges must be established in accordance with Article 145(3) "for the purpose of deciding any issue presenting a serious question of law as to the interpretation" of the Constitution.

The dual government in Delhi:

  • Delhi has a special place in India's administrative structure as both a Union Territory (UT) and a National Capital Territory (NCT).
  • It is administered under the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act of 1991 because it is a Union territory, and it calls for the appointment of L-G by the Union Home Ministry in addition to an elected parliament.
  • The Government of National Capital Territory (GNCT) of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 was passed in order to amend it.
  • The dynamics of the relationship between the elected Council of Ministers in Delhi and the Central Government were severely strained by the status of Delhi as a UT under Schedule 1 of the Constitution and the "National Capital Territory" under Article 239AA, engrafted by the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 2014.
  • Status: In 1991, a constitutional reform gave Delhi a responsible administration and a fully elected legislative assembly.
  • Delhi has been a UT since 1991 and has an assembly with "limited legislative powers."

Article 239 AA and Delhi's Special Status:

  • The 69th Amendment Act of 1991 added Article 239 AA to the Constitution, which granted Delhi Special Status in accordance with the S Balakrishnan Committee's recommendations.
  • To investigate Delhi's requests for statehood, a committee was formed in 1987.
  • This clause states that the NCT of Delhi shall have a Legislative Assembly and an Administrator.
  • The Legislative Assembly "shall have the power to make laws for the whole or any part of the NCT with respect to any of the matters in the State List or Concurrent List in so far as any such matter is applicable to Union territories," subject to the provisions of the Constitution, with the exception of the laws governing land, public order, and police.

Source: The Indian Express

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