Delhi: Centre issues big ordinance on postings, transfers; AAP says it defies SC order

The ordinance, which comes a week after the Supreme Court handed over the control of services in Delhi to the elected government

Arvind Kejriwal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi,

The Centre on Friday promulgated an ordinance to create an authority for transfer and posting of Group-A officers in Delhi, with the AAP government calling the move a deception with the Supreme Court verdict on control of services.

The ordinance, which comes a week after the Supreme Court handed over the control of services in Delhi, excluding police, public order and land to the elected government, seeks to set up a National Capital Civil Service Authority for transfer of and disciplinary proceedings against Group-A officers from the DANICS cadre.

Transfer and postings of all officers of the Delhi government were under the executive control of the lieutenant governor before the May 11 top court verdict.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi government and Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena locked horns over the verdict on services matters, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleging a “conspiracy” to overturn the ruling and the LG accusing the AAP dispensation of disregarding rules and procedures.

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The ordinance states that “there shall be an authority to be known as the National Capital Civil Service Authority to exercise the powers conferred on, and discharge the functions assigned to it”.

The authority will comprise the chief minister of the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi as its chairperson, along with the chief secretary and the principal home secretary, who will be the member secretary to the authority, it said.

“All matters required to be decided by the authority shall be decided by majority of votes of the members present and voting. All recommendations of the authority shall be authenticated by the member secretary,” the ordinance said.

“The central government, in consultation with authority, shall determine the nature and the categories of officers and other employees required to assist the authority in the discharge of its functions and provide the authority with such officers and employees, as it may deem fit.”

“Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force, the National Capital Civil Service Authority shall have the responsibility to recommend the transfers and postings of all the Group A officers and officers of DANICS serving in the affairs of the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi but not officers serving in connection with any subject matter,” it read.

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The National Capital Civil Service Authority will meet at a time and place as the member secretary decides with the approval of the chairperson of the authority, as and when required, the ordinance added.

Reacting to the development, AAP chief spokesperson and Services Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said the Centre had “deceived” the people of Delhi.

“This is a deception committed with the Supreme Court and the people of Delhi who have chosen Kejriwal thrice to be the CM. He doesn’t have any powers but the LG, who has not even been chosen but forced upon people, will have powers and through him the Centre will keep tabs on the work happening in Delhi. This is contempt of court,” he said.

Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Atishi said the Centre’s ordinance is a “clear-cut case of contempt of court”. “The Modi government has gone against the unanimous decision of the Supreme Courts constitution bench,” she said.

“But the Centre’s ordinance is a reflection of the (Narendra) Modi government being a graceless loser,” Atishi added.

Hours before the ordinance was promulgated, Kejriwal and his ministers had met with the LG separately over the transfer of Services Secretary Ashish More. Saxena approved the AAP government’s proposal to assign the additional charge of the Services department to IAS officer A K Singh, the LGs office said.

Following his meeting with Saxena, Kejriwal had told reporters, “There is widespread talk of the Centre bringing an ordinance to overturn the SC verdict. I hope that these are complete rumours and there is no truth in them. It will be a great betrayal against the people of Delhi and the country if this happens.”

(With Agency inputs)