New Delhi : The Supreme Court of India has decided to refer the matter related to the Delhi ordinance to a constitutional bench. This five-judge constitutional bench will be responsible for hearing the case. The Delhi government had filed a petition against the ordinance, and during the Tuesday hearing, the Supreme Court indicated that the matter might be referred to a constitutional bench. Finally, on Thursday, the Supreme Court ordered the referral to the five-judge bench.
The Delhi Ordinance of 2023 grants the Lieutenant Governor the authority to transfer and appoint administrative officers in Delhi. It also establishes the National Capital Civil Services Authority, with the Chief Minister of Delhi as the chairperson, and includes the Chief Secretary and the Principal Home Secretary as members. This authority is responsible for making decisions on the appointment and transfer of officers in Delhi. However, in case of any disagreements within the authority, the final decision-making power has been given to the Lieutenant Governor.
There has been an ongoing power struggle between the Central Government and the Delhi government over the administration of Delhi. The matter reached the Supreme Court, which, in a significant decision on May 11, granted the elected government the right to transfer and appoint administrative officers in Delhi, while certain rights related to Delhi Police, land, and public order were given to the Central Government. Subsequently, on May 19, the Central Government issued an ordinance named the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023, in response to the Supreme Court’s order.
Currently, the monsoon session of Parliament has commenced, and the Central Government will seek to pass this ordinance and turn it into law during this session. Meanwhile, the Delhi government is working on garnering support from opposition parties against this ordinance, and several opposition parties, including Congress and TMC, have expressed their support for the Delhi government on this issue.