HC asks L-G Najeeb Jung to consider Delhi govt's proposals
Not granting a stay or quashing the Centre's notification clipping AAP administration's powers, the Delhi high court on Friday directed the Lt Governor to "deliberate" on the city government's proposals on appointment of senior bureaucrats to key posts.
Hearing the Delhi government's plea for quashing the May 21 order of the Centre barring the anti-corruption branch from proceeding against any staff under Centre's control, the court, as an interim measure, asked the L-G to deliberate upon the AAP government's orders shifting nine bureaucrats from one post to another.
It also sought the Centre's response on AAP government's plea seeking quashing of a notification which gave the Lt Governor absolute powers to appoint bureaucrats to various posts in the national capital.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher gave the interim order after senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the Delhi government, suggested the via media to break the "conundrum".
She said the government will send its proposal for allocating different posts to the LG, who can then follow the procedure laid down in the Transaction of Business Rules.
Jaising argued that in view of the notification the officers were not reporting for duty where they were posted and as a result running of government has come to a stand still.
"They (Centre) can't short circuit the procedure provided under the Rules and the Constitution," she said.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain opposed the suggestion saying the city government was "inherently ineligible" for "tweaking or tinkering" with the officers allocated to it by the Centre which decides where they have to be posted.
He also said that when the city government did not have the power to give an opinion on the issue, then the question of sending the proposal to the LG does not arise.
"They are incapable of making it (proposal)," Jain said and added that any interim order would "disturb the basic fabric".
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court asked the AAP government to reply within three weeks on the Centre's plea for a stay on an HC ruling that restored the power of the state government's anti-corruption branch (ACB) to probe central government's employees in graft cases.
The high court said if any information, like the profile of the officer concerned was required, the LG would call for it.
The court also asked the Centre about the practice in the past with respect to posting of bureaucrats and directed the MHA to give an affidavit stating what was the practice adopted in Union territories.
"What was happening in the past? Was the UT government allowed to move officers? I need an affidavit and factual data on how it was happening in all UTs," it said and directed that the affidavit be filed in six weeks and listed the matter for further hearing on August 11.
During the arguments, Jaising submitted that the entire "controversy" arose not because the city government tried to recruit officers but because of its decision to allocate them work different from what they were doing.
She said the city government has no control over the officers of the All India Services with respect to their service conditions, including taking disciplinary action against them as well as their promotion.
"Job allocation is my prerogative. That is governance. One runs a government through its officers, therefore, we need to have the power to allocate them work as per our wish" she said.
"Heart of the matter is that he (LG and Centre) wants to act as an autocrat," she claimed.
The arguments also saw heated exchanges between the ASG and Jaising after she said that he had not understood her contentions.
After the hearing the arguments the court said the aspect needs consideration.
"You (both governments) say you have the power, it needs to be determined," the court said.