Ordinance promulgated as officers of vigilance dept targeted by Delhi govt: Centre to SC

The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that the ordinance on control of services in Delhi was promulgated as officers working in the vigilance department were “targeted” by the city government, and bureaucrats and officials were humiliated.

In an affidavit filed in the apex court, the Centre claimed that after the May 11 judgement of the constitution bench of the top court, ministers in the Delhi government started a “witch-hunt” and harassment of officers to influence their decision making.

A five-judge constitution bench of the apex court had on May 11 said the Delhi government has legislative and executive powers over administration of services except for public order, police and land.

“To elaborate the above, the officers working in the vigilance department, that is the 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,” the Centre said in its affidavit.

It said in this regard, complaints were received from Special Secretary (Vigilance) and two other officers, pointing out a serious incident of trespassing in the said officer’s chamber and taking unlawful custody of certain files.

The affidavit further said, “However, the elected government remained arrogant to the official duties of the officers concerned and handled the whole affair in a highly insensitive manner, as evinced from their act and conduct of repeatedly insulting and humiliating the senior officers as well as the subordinate officers of the vigilance department.”

It said the files of the vigilance department were “extremely sensitive” in nature and included those relating to alleged excise scam, expenditure incurred in the construction of new residential bungalow of the chief minister and also those containing documents pertaining to advertisements given by and from the exchequer of the Delhi government for a political party.

While hearing the matter on Monday, a bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud hinted that it was contemplating referring to a constitution bench for adjudication of the Delhi government’s petition against the Centre’s recent ordinance on the control of services.

The top court had recently issued notices to the Centre and the lieutenant governor on the plea while refusing to grant an interim stay on the ordinance on control over services in Delhi.

The Centre had on May 19 promulgated the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023 to create an authority for transfer and posting of Group-A officers in Delhi.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has termed it a “deception” with the Supreme Court verdict on control of services.

The ordinance, which came a week after the Supreme Court handed over the control of services in Delhi excluding police, public order and land to the elected government, seeks to set up a National Capital Civil Service Authority for transfer of and disciplinary proceedings against Group-A officers from the Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (Civil) Services (DANICS) cadre.

The chief minister is one of the three members of the Authority, while two others are bureaucrats. The decisions by the Authority are to be taken by a majority and, in the event of a dispute, the matter will be referred to the LG whose decision will be final.

Transfer and posting of all officers of the Delhi government were under the executive control of the LG before the May 11 top court verdict.

In its affidavit filed in the apex court, the Centre has said the ordinance satisfies the existing constitutional scheme of governance of NCT of Delhi provided under Article 239 read with 239AA of the Constitution.

Also Read

Detailing the facts necessitating the promulgation of the ordinance, the Centre said immediately after the pronouncement of May 11 judgment by the apex court, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had met the Lieutenant Governor and the LG had specially informed him that the verdict is sacrosanct for him and should be followed in letter and spirit.

“Despite this, the chief minister and other ministers in a dramatic and convoluted fashion, immediately went on a rampage by issuing orders and posting them on social media, which are in gross disregard to the rules and procedure already in place with regard to administrative mechanism of the civil service board .,” it said.

“The ministers started uploading the orders on social media platforms and making statements in media and started a witch-hunt, harassment of officers, media trials, threats and street postures to influence the decision making by the officers,” it added.

Related Articles

Latest Articles