New Delhi, November 28
As the Centre indicated that it intended to give extension to incumbent Naresh Kumar as Chief Secretary of NCT Delhi, the Supreme Court on Tuesday wondered if there was no other officer who could be appointed to the post.
“Don’t you have any other IAS officer who can be the Chief Secretary? You can appoint whoever you want. Why are you stuck on only one (officer) who can be the Chief Secretary of Delhi?” a Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
The top court sought to know the statutory provisions that empowered it to give extension to the Chief Secretary.
“Show us the powers to extend by tomorrow. Ultimately, their point is that why are you insisting on only one name or else just make the appointment,” the Bench told Mehta, posting the matter for further hearing on Wednesday.
On behalf of the Delhi Government, senior counsel AM Singhvi suggested selecting a candidate from a panel or appointing the senior-most IAS officer as the Chief Secretary.
As the Delhi L-G VK Saxena and the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government sparred over the appointment of a new Chief Secretary for the Government of NCT Delhi, the Supreme Court had on Friday asked the Centre if it could come up with a panel of three names for the post.
On Tuesday, the Bench said, ‘The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2023’ — which granted the Central government power to appoint the Chief Secretary of Delhi – had not been stayed by it.
The Bench was hearing the Delhi Government’s petition against any move by the Centre to appoint, without any consultation with it, the new Chief Secretary or extend the tenure of the current incumbent Naresh Kumar who is due to retire on November 30.
The L-G and Delhi Government have been at loggerheads over various issues of governance in the national capital, leading to several rounds of litigation, including Constitution Bench verdicts.
The Delhi Government has contended the Centre can’t proceed with the appointment of the Chief Secretary without any consultation with it while the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, notified in August, was under challenge. The law gave the Centre control over bureaucracy in the national capital and created an authority for the transfer and posting of Group-A officers.
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