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'Extremely Dangerous': Delhi CM Kejriwal Says Centre's Order in Contempt of SC

The top court had given the Delhi government control over bureaucracy in the NCT of Delhi.

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India
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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the Centre's new ordinance on the services matter was in direct contempt of court.

Levelling allegations: In a press conference held on Saturday, 20 May, Kejriwal said that the Centre was "challenging the Supreme Court openly. This is direct contempt of the Supreme Court and an insult to its majesty," according to a report by NDTV.

  • "The ordinance will be challenged in the Supreme Court. It will slow down the Delhi government's work but will not stop it," he reportedly added.

Why it matters: “The entire battle is now Supreme Court vs Centre. It is extremely dangerous. This way the central government will bring in an ordinance to negate any unfavourable judgement, since they have the majority," Kejriwal was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.

On the flip side, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ravi Shankar Prasad attempted to justify the ordinance and said, "We had to bring in the ordinance because within a few days of the Supreme Court judgement, the Delhi government began flexing its muscles. It transferred 2010 batch IAS officer Y K Rajashekhar, who was probing the irregularities in the Sheesh Mahal [Delhi CM's official residence]."

Meanwhile, the Union government on Saturday moved the Supreme Court seeking review of the judgment which gave the Delhi government control over bureaucracy (except land, law and order and police) in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, news agency ANI reported.

In a nutshell: The centre's challenge to the Constitutional bench verdict comes on the heels of its new ordinance giving authority to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi regarding matters of “transfer, posting, vigilance, and other incidental matters" related to all Group A officers and officers of DANICS serving in Delhi.

  • Notified on late Friday evening, 19 May, in the Extraordinary Gazette of India, the ordinance is an amendment to the GNCTD Act.

  • This, despite the top court clearly stating in its verdict that "democratically elected government shall have control over its officers."

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So, what changes? According to the new ordinance:

  • A new body will be created called the “National Capital Civil Service Authority"

  • This consist of the chief minister, the chief secretary, and the principal secretary (home) of Delhi.

  • This body will have to “make recommendations” to the LG. For more details, read this.

What is an ordinance? Article 123 of the Constitution deals with the power of the president to promulgate an ordinance

  • An ordinance is passed when the Parliament is not in session

  • "If at any time, except when both Houses of Parliament are in session, the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such Ordinance as the circumstances appear to him to require," Article 123 says.

  • While an Ordinance has the same force and effect as an Act passed by the Parliament, it has to be placed before both houses and approved within six weeks of reassembly of the Parliament.

  • If an Ordinance (under Article 123) makes any provision which Parliament would not under this Constitution be competent to enact, it shall be void.

(With inputs from NDTV and Hindustan Times.)

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