Govt Intends To Extend Tenure Of Delhi Chief Secretary: Centre Tells Sc

Govt intends to extend tenure of Delhi Chief Secretary: Centre tells SC

New Delhi, Nov 28 : The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it may extend the tenure of the incumbent Chief Secretary of Delhi, who is due to superannuate on November 30.

“Right now, the Centre intends to extend the tenure of the existing person (Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar) for a limited period,” submitted Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta before a Bench presided over by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud.

The Bench, also comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, asked SG Mehta to show the provisions or rules empowering the Union Government to extend the tenure of Delhi’s top-most bureaucrat.

During the hearing, Mehta stressed that the Centre will extend the tenure for a “limited period” only and “will not extend the tenure for three or four years.

Opposing this, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared on behalf of the Delhi Government, said that “there is absolute breach of communication, trust and faith of any kind between this Chief Secretary and the administration.”

Singhvi added that the Centre did not provide a panel of five senior bureaucrats as suggested by the apex court in the last hearing.

“In the whole of India, among the IAS officers, you have nobody except this one person? Is there nobody else?” he said, adding that the court may appoint any senior bureaucrat out of a panel of five or ten IAS officers to the post of Chief Secretary.

“Let this man (incumbent Chief Secretary) superannuate.

You make a fresh appointment under Section 45A (of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2023),” remarked the top court.

At this, SG Mehta said, “Even superannuated person can be extended if the (Centre) Government so wishes.

“We are not saying you (Centre) to give them (Delhi Government) an option.Go by Section 45A.You appoint somebody,” added the apex court.

Mehta responded that the tenure of the same person can be extended under the law, adding that such is the “statutory power” of the Centre.

“Show us the power to extend, tomorrow.Show us the grounds on which you want to extend.Otherwise, you make an appointment, whoever you want,” said the Supreme Court as it adjourned the hearing.

In the previous hearing, the apex court had said that it would put an end to the issue on November 28.The plea filed by the Delhi Government challenges the Lieutenant Governor’s “unilateral” determination of the national Capital’s Chief Secretary.

The Delhi Government had pleaded that it was always ‘exclusively’ the Government of NCT of Delhi, which appointed the Chief Secretary.In a bid to give a “workable solution”, the Supreme Court had asked SG Mehta to give the list of five senior bureaucrats by 10.25 a.m and the Delhi Government may “pick one name” out of those suggested by the Centre.

It had said that doing so would meet the “concerns of the Union Government” and at the same time, “foster a degree of confidence in the officer in the elected arm of the state”.

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