Centre approves bill to replace controversial Delhi ordinance over officer controltext_fields
New Delhi: The central cabinet has given its approval to a bill that will replace the contentious ordinance, granting the Centre authority over the posting of officers in the Delhi government.
According to sources, the bill will be introduced in the parliament shortly. The ordinance has been a major point of contention between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in Delhi. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) administration, supported by the Congress and other opposition parties, has challenged the ordinance in the Supreme Court.
Ordinances are brought into effect when the parliament is not in session, but they must receive clearance from the legislature within six weeks of their reassembly. The Monsoon Session is currently underway in the Parliament, but the exact timing for the introduction of the bill remains uncertain.
The purpose of the ordinance is to establish a National Capital Civil Service Authority responsible for transferring Group A officers from the Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (Civil) Services (DANICS) cadre. The authority will also have the power to initiate disciplinary actions against these officers.
The AAP contends that the ordinance goes against a ruling by the Supreme Court, which had favored the Delhi government in a power tussle case.
On May 11, the apex court stated that the Delhi government should have control over services, and the Lieutenant Governor is bound by its decisions. The court clarified that the Delhi government has authority over all services except for Public Order, Police, and Land, which remain excluded from its jurisdiction. Before this, the transfer and posting of all Delhi government officers were under the executive control of the Lieutenant Governor.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing the AAP government's challenge to the ordinance and has decided to have a five-judge constitution bench examine whether the Parliament can pass a law to take away the state's control over services. However, the court has refused to stay the ordinance during the proceedings.