New Delhi, July 17
The Centre on Monday defended the Delhi Services Ordinance, 2023, that gave wider powers to the Lt Governor with regard to bureaucracy, saying it had to be promulgated urgently to save the administration of the Capital from getting “paralysed” when a large number of international events were happening here in view of India’s G-20 Presidentship.
MHA levels serious allegations
- Vigilance officers handling serious issues targeted; plaints received of trespass and taking away of files
- Files pertained to excise scam involving Delhi ministers; expenditure incurred on CM’s new bungalow; & party ads funded from exchequer
- Files were also of ‘Feedback Unit’ created by Delhi Govt to gather political intelligence in the Capital by employing former IB officers
“Since Parliament was not in session, keeping in view the emergent situation of administrative chaos in the Capital, whereby the administration of the Capital was paralysed, it was deemed necessary to provide for a comprehensive scheme of administration of services deployed in the functioning of the NCT Delhi and other allied issues, thereby balancing the local and domestic interests of the people staying in the NCT Delhi with the democratic will of the entire nation reflected through the President of India,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in an affidavit filed in the top court.
Rise above political bickering, Kejri & L-G told
As appointment of a new Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) chairperson continues to hang fire, the Supreme Court on Monday asked Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt Governor VK Saxena to rise above political bickering and finalise the name of the power regulator after discussing names of former judges for the post.
A three-judge Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud said the Delhi Government’s petition against the ordinance needed to be referred to a Constitution Bench. “What they (Centre) have done is that by using power under 239AA (7), they have amended the Constitution to take services out of the Delhi Government’s control. Is that permissible? I don’t think either of the Constitution Bench judgments has covered that,” the CJI noted.
The Supreme Court on July 10 refused to stay the ordinance and issued notice to the Centre the Delhi Government’s petition challenging its constitutional validity.
During the hearing on Monday, senior advocate Harish Salve, representing the L-G, told the Bench he was contemplating filing a PIL to prevent constitutional functionaries from engaging in discussions and arguments on social media platforms.
In its affidavit, the MHA levelled serious allegations against the Delhi Government. It said: “The officers working in the Vigilance Department, which handles serious vigilance issues relating to complaints of corruption, thus involving, criminal and other politically sensitive cases, came to be specifically targeted by the elected government and complaints were received from Special Secretary (Vigilance) and two other officers, pointing out a serious incident of trespassing on the said officer’s chamber and taking unlawful custody of certain files.” The files pertained to an alleged excise scam in which some important and senior ministers of the Delhi Government were under investigation and were in custody under judicial; files pertained to the expenditure incurred on the construction of new residential bungalow of CM Arvind Kejriwal, which was being enquired into; and documents pertained to advertisements given by and from the exchequer of the Delhi Government for a political party, it stated. “There are also files pertaining to the creation and functioning of a unit known as ‘Feedback Unit’. It may be pointed out that though the subject of police and law and order is not within the jurisdiction of the Government of NCT Delhi (GNCTD), one unit was created to gather political intelligence in the Capital employing, inter alia, retired IB officials as officers/employees.
“The existence of such a unit, apart from being beyond the competence of the limited executive powers of the GNCTD, is otherwise also disastrous considering that not only all central ministries looking after the entire nation are situated in the Capital, but several embassies and representatives of various countries are based in the Capital, as also the highest judiciary of the country i.e. the Supreme Court of India…. It is under consideration that with the jurisdiction as limited in Article 239A A, GNCTD cannot have a unit to gather ‘intelligence’ under the ostensible name of ‘Feedback Unit’,” the affidavit stated.
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