The Supreme Court on Monday suggested Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena sit together and come up with a mutually agreed name to appoint as the chairperson of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, Live Law reported.
“Should everything work through the modalities of the Supreme Court?” Chief Justice DY Chandrachud asked. “...They are constitutional functionaries. They have to rise above political bickering, they have to give an agreed name.”
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and Manoj Misra was hearing a petition filed by the Aam Aadmi Party government challenging a provision of an ordinance through which the chairperson of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission was appointed by Saxena.
The ordinance gives overriding powers to the lieutenant governor over the elected government in appointments.
The post of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission chairperson fell vacant after the former head of the commission, Justice Shabihul Hasnain, was demitted from office on January 9.
The Aam Aadmi Party initially recommended Justice Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava, but alleged that his appointment was delayed by the office of the lieutenant governor.
The issue was brought before the Supreme Court, which on May 22 said that the lieutenant governor “cannot stultify” the government and asked him not to delay the appointment.
Subsequently, Justice Srivastava expressed his inability to take on the role due to “family commitments and requirements”, following which the Delhi government recommended former Justice Sangeet Raj Lodha of the Rajasthan High Court on June 21.
But hours after the Delhi government’s recommendation, the Central government notified the name of retired Allahabad High Court judge Justice Umesh Kumar as the chairperson of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission.
During the hearing on Monday, the Supreme Court said that it was considering to refer the Delhi government’s plea challenging the Centre’s ordinance to a Constitution bench, reported Bar and Bench.
“For the first time they [Centre] have used power conferred under clause 7 of Article 239AA to take services outside the purview of Delhi government…in a way Constitution has been amended,” the judges said.
The case will be heard next on July 20.