GNCTD Chief Secretary

Supreme Court: In a plea filed by Delhi Government against the Union, for unilaterally appointing the Chief Secretary or extending the term of the current Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar, the three Judge Bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, CJI., JB Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra, JJ. while rejecting the plea, has held that the Central Government has the power to appoint the Chief Secretary of the Delhi Government and that such power includes the power to extend the term of the superannuating officer. Thus, it allowed the Central Government to extend by 6 months the term of the Chief Secretary, Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (‘GNCTD’), Naresh Kumar, who was due to retire on 30-11-2023.

While taking note of the Government of NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Act 2023, that gives Union Government overriding powers over GNCTD services, the Court said that out of the three subjects that are Constitutionally excluded from the powers of Delhi Government, i.e. public order, police and land. The Chief Secretary has to deal with this excluded matter also.

Further, the Court noted Rule 55(2) of the Transaction of Business of the Government of National Capital Territory Rules, 1993, which provides that Lieutenant Governor must make a prior reference to the Union Ministry regarding the proposals for the appointment of the Chief Secretary, Commissioner of Police, Secretary (Home) and Secretary (Land). Thus, it said that these subjects are excluded from the Delhi Government’s powers.

As per the Court, since the Chief Secretary performs important functions, it would be improbable to postulate that the Central Government would be deprived of the power to appoint the Chief Secretary of the Delhi Government.

The Court further held that Rule 16 of the All-India Services (Death cum Retirement Benefit) Rules apply to the officers of the GNCTD and in relation to the officers exercising the functions under the excluded subjects, the Central Government has the power to extend their tenure.

Thus, the Court held that the decision of the Union Govt to extend the services of Chief Secretary for 6 months cannot be construed to be violative of law.

Source: Press

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