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Centre moves SC against Delhi HC order on LG's powers; hearing on Friday

The Supreme Court will on Friday hear the Centre's Special Leave Petition (SLP) challenging the Delhi High Court's order that termed as "suspect" a notification of the Union Home Ministry barring the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi government from acting against its officials.

Centre moves SC against Delhi HC order on LG's powers; hearing on Friday

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will on Friday hear the Centre's Special Leave Petition (SLP) challenging the Delhi High Court's order that termed as "suspect" a notification of the Union Home Ministry barring the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Delhi government from acting against its officials.

The Central government's plea also challenges the May 25 HC order that the Lieutenant Governor has no power in the posting and transfer of bureaucrats in the Delhi government.

The apex court vacation bench of Justices SK Sikri and UU Lalit on Thursday said they will hear the matter tomorrow as Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh urged the court to hold an urgent hearing of the matter.

The Delhi High Court by its verdict had held erroneous the Central government notification putting all the services under the LG.

The HC had issued the order while hearing bail application of a Delhi Police constable who was arrested by the ACB on bribery charges.

The Home Ministry had maintained that ACB had no jurisdiction over its officials whereas the Delhi government had challenged it.

The ministry issued a gazette notification on May 21 that the ACB police station shall not take cognisance of offences against officials, employees and functionaries of the Central government services besides giving the Delhi LG absolute powers on transfers and postings of senior officers.

However, while dismissing the bail application of the constable, the High Court termed as "suspect" the Centre's notification barring Delhi government's ACB from acting against its officers in criminal offences and held that the LG cannot act on his discretion.

The High Court noted that Lieutenant Governor of Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) is bound to act upon the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers who are directly elected by the citizens of Delhi and the Centre's "executive fiat" siding with him is "suspect".

It observed that mandate of the people "must" be respected by the LG of GNCTD if there was no other "constitutional or legal fetter".

"In my view, since the Union lacks the executive authority to act in respect of matters dealt with in Entries 1 & 2 of List III of the Seventh Schedule, the further executive fiat issued by the Union government on May 21, 2015 is also suspect," Justice Vipin Sanghi had said in his order.

The order came on the day when Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had taken to streets and was holding an 'open cabinet meeting' in central Delhi against the alleged oppressive measures being used by the Centre to curtail powers of the Delhi government.

According to the sources in the Home Ministry, the SLP will primarily argue that the High Court had made the observations without hearing its views.

(With Agency inputs)

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