Justice L Nageshwar Rao today became the second Supreme Court judge to recuse himself from hearing a plea of Delhi government seeking a declaration of its power and to restrain the High Court from delivering the verdict on host of issues including the scope of its powers.
The plea was listed before a bench of Justices A R Dave and Rao, a day after another apex court judge Justice J S Khehar had recused himself from hearing the matter.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for Delhi government, who came to know about the second recusal in as many days, first rushed to mention the matter before the bench headed by Justice Dave.
After getting the confirmation about the Justice Rao’s recusal, Jaising then went to court of Chief Justice T S Thakur and sought urgent hearing of the matter, saying it seemed that she was probably “jinxed” for the case as the hearing is getting deferred time and again.
The CJI then assured Jaising of listing of the matter before a third bench on Friday.
Yesterday, the Arvind Kejriwal government had made unsuccessful efforts to ensure that its lawsuit for declaration of powers of Delhi as a state be heard along with its plea to restrain Delhi High Court from delivering verdict on a host of issues, including the scope of its powers.
Prior to this, the court had agreed to hear the Delhi government’s plea. In its plea, Delhi government has claimed that only the apex court had jurisdiction under the Constitution to deal with issues relating to the powers of States and Centre.
It has been alleged by the AAP government that it has been unable to function as most of its decisions are either annulled or changed by the Centre at the behest of Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung on the ground that Delhi is not a complete state.
In its appeal, the city government alleged that its power to do public services in the state has been adversely affected. It also raised a question as to whether the Union of India can take over all powers of the state government.
There is an ongoing power tussle between Delhi government and LG on various issues including the control over Anti- Corruption Branch and power to transfer or retain bureaucrats.
The HC had on May 24 reserved its verdict on the plea of AAP government seeking a stay on the proceedings on petitions arising out of its standoff with the LG over powers to appoint bureaucrats in the national capital and other issues.