"Are You Stuck With One Person?": Supreme Court Asks Central Government On Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar's Term Being Extended
The Supreme Court on Tuesday (28.11.2023) asked to the Central Government if it was stuck on one person as the Chief Secretary to the Delhi Government. This was after the Centre submitted that it was planning to extend the tenure of the current Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar(who is due to retire on November 30). The bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice...
The Supreme Court on Tuesday (28.11.2023) asked to the Central Government if it was stuck on one person as the Chief Secretary to the Delhi Government. This was after the Centre submitted that it was planning to extend the tenure of the current Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar(who is due to retire on November 30).
The bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra also asked the Central Government to show its power and grounds for the extension of the tenure of the chief secretary.
On the last hearing, the Apex Court had suggested that the Delhi LG and the Union Government could propose a panel of names for the post of Chief Secretary and the Delhi Government could choose one name from the panel. However, today, the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Central Government stated that it planned on extending the tenure of existing Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar.
Senior Advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for the Delhi Government vehemently opposed the suggestion stating that there existed an absolute lack of faith between the current chief secretary and the Delhi government. He stated that the unilateral extension of the term without the aid of the Delhi government could not be upheld as valid.
At the outset, Singhvi argued that the court should not go strictly on the basis of the existing law as the law in question was under challenge. He was referring to the challenge to the Government of National Capital Territory (Amendment) Act 2023 which has been referred to a Constitution Bench.
"I'm not saying appoint our person. I'm saying appoint either senior most or have the CM and LG sit together or give us a panel of names."
Referring to the Chief secretary as the "linchpin", Singhvi asserted that the administration could not work without him. he reiterated–
"I'm not saying have unilateralism for us. I'm saying court may appoint, court can take panel for 5 senior most! In the whole country you have no IAS officer but him?"
The CJI reminded Dr Singhvi that even though the Act was under challenge, it had not been stayed by the Supreme Court and was still the law that governed the issue.
"Mr Singhvi, we have not stayed the act yet. If they can extend as per the Act, they can extend...there is a law. We have expressly declined to stay the law."
However, Singhvi asserted that there was nothing specific in the new Act which dealt with the post of Chief secretary.
Per contra, the SG submitted that the Chief Secretary fell within the express domain of the central government as per the new act.
The CJI asked the SG–
"Are you just stuck with one person? They are saying appoint whoever you want but not him. Are you so stuck?"
The SG responded by stating that there were several administrative reasons for the same. To this, the CJI said–
"Show us the power to extend and grounds to extend tomorrow...We are not holding you down to any directions. You appoint any IAS officer from cadre..."
The SG responded by stating that he would take instructions regarding the same.
Case Title: Government Of NCT Of Delhi v Union Of India And Ors. W.P.(C) No. 1268/2023