The Supreme Court on Thursday referred the Delhi government’s plea challenging the Centre’s ordinance of the control of administrative services in the Capital to a Constitution bench, reported PTI.

The order was passed by a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and justices PS Narasimha and Manoj Misra.

The Centre had promulgated the ordinance on May 19 to create the National Capital Civil Service Authority in order to administer the transfer and posting of bureaucrats serving the Delhi government. The ordinance nullified a Supreme Court verdict passed on May 11 stating that the Aam Aadmi Party government in the national capital has legislative power over bureaucrats in all departments other than public order, police and land.

In its petition, the Delhi government has contended that the ordinance is an attempt to override the court’s decision and the federal structure of democracy guaranteed by the Constitution.

During Monday’s hearing, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud pointed out that the ordinance took away the control of “services” from the Delhi government, even when the Constitution only bars three entries relating to police, law and order and land from its control, reported Live Law.

Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the Delhi government, argued that a reference to a Constitution Bench was not necessary as the issue can be decided by a three-judge bench.

“Any reference to a Constitution bench will cause the whole system to be in paralysis because of the time it takes,” he said.

Attorney General R Venkataramani, however, submitted that it is the bench’s prerogative to refer the case to a larger bench if it feels that substantial questions of law are involved.

On appointment of DERC chairperson

The Delhi Government and Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena on Thursday told the Supreme Court that they have failed to reach a consensus on choosing a mutually agreed name to appoint as the chairperson of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, PTI reported.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing on behalf of Saxena, said the court can suggest names for the appointment to the post.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, also urged the bench to appoint the chairperson, saying that the institution cannot remain headless.

The bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and justices PS Narasimha and Manoj Misra then directed the Delhi government and Saxena to suggest names of three or five retired judges of the Delhi High Court, out of whom they can pick the appointee.

The bench 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 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.