Delhi govt requests SC for early hearing on services law plea

Delhi govt requests   SC for early hearing on services law plea

New Delhi: The Delhi government has petitioned the Supreme Court for an early hearing of its case challenging the legislation that removes control over “services” from its jurisdiction. Senior advocate Dr. AM Singhvi, representing the Delhi government, emphasised the urgent need for adjudication, citing significant operational challenges posed by the recent legislative changes.

Singhvi highlighted the impact of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act 2023, which transferred control of administrative services away from the Delhi government to the Central government. “It’s a serious matter, it is creating problems on the ground,” he asserted during the proceedings.

The petition argues that the Act undermines the constitutional framework established under Article 239AA, which grants legislative and executive powers to the Delhi government over matters excluding public order, police, and land. Singhvi referenced previous Supreme Court judgments affirming Delhi’s authority over “services” and stressed the need for clarity from the court to resolve ambiguities.

“The NCT matter is now pending for over a year. Your Lordship knows the ground reality, a lot of things will be solved, there are two judgments the third judgment is required to iron out the creases. I can only pray with folded hands that the Lordship may give it top priority,” Singhvi urged, seeking prompt resolution.

The petition, filed through Advocate-on-Record Shadan Farasat, contends that the Act violates principles of federalism and the democratic governance structure outlined in Article 239AA. It asserts that the Central government’s intervention undermines the elected Delhi government’s authority and disrupts the principle of collective responsibility in administration.

In response, the Central government defended its actions, citing the need to prevent “harassment and humiliation” faced by officials and bureaucrats under the Delhi Government’s administration. It argued that as the national capital, governance in Delhi impacts the entire nation, necessitating oversight by the democratically elected Central government.

The Supreme Court had earlier referred the matter to a Constitution Bench following the enactment of the controversial ordinance, now replaced by the Act. The Delhi government’s plea seeks to uphold the Supreme Court’s previous rulings affirming its authority and to address what it perceives as an unconstitutional overreach by the Centre.

For further developments on this critical issue affecting governance in the National Capital Territory of Delhi, stakeholders await the Supreme Court’s decision on expediting the hearing and resolving the legal impasse.

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