NEW DELHI: The Centre today told the Delhi High Court that there was no illegality in its notifications giving absolute powers to Lieutenant Governor (LG) to appoint bureaucrats in the city and limiting Anti Corruption Branch's (ACB) jurisdiction to Delhi government officials.
The Centre argued before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath that these two notifications, issued in 2014 and 2015, were only clarificatory in nature as there was a "deadlock" between the Delhi government and the LG. "There is no illegality in the notifications of 2014 and 2015. These were only clarificatory in nature and the need for issuing these arose because there was a deadlock between the petitioner (Delhi Government) and LG. There was misconception on the part of the petitioner," Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain told the bench.
Wrapping up his arguments on the petitions challenging the two notifications, ASG claimed that Delhi government has not been able to point out even a "single flaw" in it, as it was issued within the ambit of the Constitution. "We do not want a situation where there is a logjam in the functioning of the government," he said.
Regarding notification on ACB's jurisdiction, Jain said ACB comes directly under the control of the Centre through LG and its entire focus and scope has been clearly defined. "The ACB was established for functional and administrative convenience. It does not mean that it will be under council of ministers of the Delhi government. It is a police body and the subject matter of police is not within the legislative power of the Delhi government," ASG submitted.
On the notification on appointment of bureaucrats, Jain said Delhi government does not have its own service commission and LG has the say because cadre control of DANICS, DANIPS and AGMUT comes under the Central government. The bench, after hearing the arguments, posted the matter for further hearing on March 18 after Delhi government's senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra sought some time to rebutt the arguments advanced by the ASG.
The ASG was addressing arguments during final hearing on the issue of interpretation of Article 239AA regarding the powers of LG on the governance of Delhi. A total of eleven cases arising out of the spat between the LG and the Delhi government, are being heard together by the bench headed by the Chief Justice.
The Delhi government on May 28 last year had approached the high court challenging the Centre's notification of May 21 giving LG absolute powers to appoint bureaucrats in the city.
It had also challenged the July 23, 2014 notification limiting ACB jurisdiction to Delhi government officials only.