Supreme Court Forms Committee For Selection Of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission Pro Tem Members

Padmakshi Sharma

6 Nov 2023 10:06 AM GMT

  • RRTS Project | Budgetary Allocation | Delhi Government
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    On Monday (November 6, 2023), the Supreme Court issued an order directing the formation of a committee for appointing two pro tem members to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC). The order was passed by a bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra.

    As per the order, the committee will consist of Mr. Jayant Nath, a former Delhi High Court judge who currently serves as the pro tem chairman. Joining him are Justice Ramesh Ranganathan, the Chairperson of the Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL), and Justice Asha Menon, another former Delhi High Court judge.

    The order empowers the committee to regulate its own procedures for the selection process. To facilitate the committee's work, the Power Department of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) has been tasked with providing secretarial support. The committee has the option to conduct its meetings either physically or virtually, as mutually agreed upon by its members. As per the order–

    "In deciding the members, the committee shall have due regard to ability, integrity, domain knowledge of the person selected."

    The selection committee is directed to recommend the members preferably within a period of one month of the order. The committee is required to send its recommendations to both the Lieutenant Governor (LG) and the Chief Minister (CM) of Delhi.

    It may be recalled that following a deadlock between the Delhi Government and the Lieutenant Governor over the appointment of Chairperson of the DERC, the Supreme Court had appointed Justice Jayant Nath for the post as an ad-hoc measure till the issue was finally decided.

    The issue had arise when the previous Chairperson of DERC, retired Allahabad High Court Judge, Justice Shabihul Hasnain demitted office on 09.01.2023 upon attaining the age of 65 years. Consequently, on 04.01.2023, a proposal to appoint retired MP High Court Judge, Justice Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava was placed before the LG of NCT of Delhi. However, no action was taken on the proposal made by the Government and the DERC continued functioning without a Chairperson for around 4 months. The LG took the stand that he needs legal advice on whether the opinion of the Delhi High Court Chief Justice is needed for accepting the Delhi Government's proposal.

    In April 2023, the Supreme Court issued notice on a writ petition filed by the GNCTD against the Delhi LG's inaction in approving the proposal to appoint Justice Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava.

    On May 19, the Supreme Court clarified that as per the Electricity Act 2003, only the concurrence of the Chief Justice of that High Court from which the recomendee judge retired is required and the concurrence of the Delhi High Court Chief Justice is not required. Clarifying this position, the Supreme Court directed the LG to take follow up action.

    Since Justice Shrivastava expressed difficulty in accepting the post, the Delhi Government proposed the name of another person - Justice (retired) Sangeet Lodha of the Rajasthan High Court- on June 21. However, on the same day, the President appointed Justice (Retd.) Shri Umesh Kumar of Allahabad High Court as the DERC Chairman. On the Delhi Government objecting to this appointment, the Supreme Court on July 4 allowed the Delhi Government to defer the oath taking ceremony for the appointee.

    Case Title: Government Of NCT Of Delhi v. Union Of India And Ors W.P.(C) No. 1222/2023

    Click Here To Read/Download Order

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