Delhi vs LG Services Dispute : Centre Seeks Reference To 9-Judge Bench, Says 2018 Judgment Inconsistent With Precedent
The Central Government has filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking to refer the issue relating to the control of administrative services in the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi to a bench having strength of 9 or more judges.
The larger bench reference is sought on the ground that the 2018 judgment of the Constitution Bench in the case GNCTD vs Union of India is inconsistent with the nine-judge bench judgment in the case NDMC VS State of Punjab (1996) which held that Delhi was on the same footing as a Union Territory. In the 2018 judgment, the Constitution Bench asserted the principle of supremacy of elected government and held that the LG should act as per the aid and advise of the Council of Ministers in respect of the matters over which the Delhi Government has executive and legislative powers and that the LG's reference to the President should only be made in exceptional circumstances.
On Monday, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta mentioned the application before Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud. Senior Advocate Dr AM Singhvi, appearing for the GNCTD, opposed the application by saying that it is seeking a review in disguise and a delaying tactic.
CJI Chandrachud said that the issue of reference can be raised at the time of hearing. The CJI further expressed difficulty in convening an early hearing of the Constitution Bench as Justice Krishna Murari is unavailable due to illness. Accordingly, the matter has been posted to January 10, 2023.
On May 6, a bench comprising the then CJI NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli had referred the issue relating to services to the Constitution Bench, observing that the 2018 judgment did not consider this aspect while interpreting the ambit of Article 239AA of the Constitution.
In February 2019, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court had delivered a split verdict on the question of powers of the GNCTD and Union Government over services and referred the matter to a larger bench.
Case Title : Govt of NCT of Delhi vs Union of India Civil Appeal No.2357/2017