A day after a single bench of the Delhi High Court observed that the Central government notification restricting the Delhi government’s powers was “suspect”, a law student has filed a PIL to set aside the May 21 MHA notification and to declare that the Lt-Governor does not have the discretion to appoint the Chief Secretary or other similar officers.
The PIL, filed by Vibhor Anand, states that “the intention of Parliament was to treat the Delhi government as a representative government,” and that it would be a “travesty to grant autocratic powers” to the Lt-Governor.
The issue has been a bone of contention between the Centre and the AAP governmentin Delhi, with government officials and ministers making public announcements that the state would be challenging the notification. The notification had also empowered the L-G to take decisions regarding appointments of bureaucrats.
The High Court on Monday had also shot down an MHA notification, which said the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi government did not have the power to investigate corruption charges against Central government officials.
The PIL was mentioned before the Court of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva on Tuesday and will now be heard by the court on Wednesday.
Anand has also sought court orders to declare that the decision to appoint Shakuntala Gamlin as acting chief secretary was “illegal”, even though the Delhi chief secretary K K Sharma resumed charge after a 10-day leave on Monday.
Basing its arguments on the observations made in Monday’s single bench judgment regarding interpretation of Article 239 AA, Anand states that “the tussle between the respondents (Centre and Delhi government) raises several constitutional and legal issues on the scope and extent of their powers.”
The PIL has also sought court orders to “declare that the Respondent No. 2 (L-G) is duty-bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers…in all matters that concern the legislative assembly as per article 239AA (4) of the Constitution of India and Section 41 of the GNCTD Act 1991”.