The Delhi High Court on Wednesday declined to put on hold the union home ministry’s May 21 notification that barred the Delhi government’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) from acting against the central government officers for criminal offences.
A division bench of Justice S. Murlidhar and Justice I.S. Mehta refused to suspend the notification, saying a similar matter is pending before another bench and tagged it with that public interest litigation (PIL).
“Vacation bench cannot stay the notification, same PIL has already been pending before another bench. Let that bench hear it,” the court said.
The PIL filed by practising advocates R.S. Raju and V. Sudheer challenged the May 21 notification according to which the Delhi Lt. Governor holds discretionary powers for appointments and transfers to key bureaucratic posts in the capital.
The plea challenged the “constitutional validity” of May 21 notification, saying that the notification issued by the Centre was “ultra vires” of constitutional provisions, that is Article 239 AA (4), and that it does not have the jurisdiction over matters connected with services of bureaucrats in the national capital.
The notification, by removing “services” from the state list, amounts to amending the constitution, without actually complying with the detailed procedure laid down for the process under Article 368, it said.
Earlier, the Delhi government filed a plea and challenged the notification, which the court refused to put on hold.
A PIL was also filed by a law student on which the court refused to pass any order and posted it for August 5.
The power tussle between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung is rooted in the city’s unique position as a union territory functioning as the capital, with the city government having no say over several important departments and agencies that function under the Lt. Governor, who reports to the central government.