The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that it has filed a fresh plea seeking reference to a larger bench a matter involving a Constitutional issue related to the control of services in the national capital. The Delhi government, represented by senior advocate A M Singhvi, opposed the Centre’s plea before a bench comprising Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha, saying, “this will only create delay and such tactics cannot be allowed.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said at the outset “there are no facts to be controverted. But, I have filed an IA (interim application) stating that this matter (Delhi-Centre case) may have to be referred to a larger bench”.
Singhvi opposed the submission, saying it amounted to seeking a review of the apex court order which had said the matter did not require reference to a larger bench and the only issue remaining between the parties was the dispute pertaining to control over services in Delhi. “What action has to be taken on IA can be decided when the Constitution bench assembles to hear it,” the CJI said, adding that it can be raised at the time of hearing.
The CJI also informed the lawyers that one of the judges of the five-judge Constitution bench, Justice Krishna Murari, was unwell, indicating that the proposed hearing on December 6 may get postponed. On November 11, the top court had said it will step back from the “actual arena of political conflict” between the Delhi government and the Centre and only deal with the Constitutional issue related to the control of services in the national capital.
The observations had come when Singhvi wanted to bring to the notice of the bench an affidavit by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in which he alleged that there was “paralysis in administration” as no bureaucrat was responding to ministers’ calls. The Centre had vehemently opposed Sisodia’s affidavit, saying it was filed when the case was already fixed for hearing.
A five-judge Constitution bench is scheduled to hear on December 6 the legal issue concerning the scope of the legislative and executive powers of the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi over the control of services in the national capital.Sisodia, in the affidavit, has told the Supreme Court that Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena has “derailed” governance in Delhi by encouraging the “recalcitrance of civil servants” towards the elected government.
The AAP government told the apex court that Saxena was “running a parallel system of governance in the NCT of Delhi” by taking unilateral executive decisions.
On September 27, the top court said a Constitution bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud (now the CJI) would commence hearing the matter from November 9 on a day-to-day basis. The other members of the five-judge bench are justices M R Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha. On May 6, the top court had referred the issue of control of services in Delhi to the Constitution bench.