Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain Thursday told the Delhi High Court that there was no illegality in the notifications issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which gave absolute powers to the Lieutenant Governor to appoint bureaucrats in the city and limiting the Anti-Corruption Branch’s (ACB) jurisdiction to Delhi government officials.
Jain made the statements while concluding his arguments on the Centre’s behalf in its dispute with the AAP government over distribution of power in the capital. Before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath, the Centre argued that these two notifications, issued in 2014 and 2015, were only “clarificatory” in nature as there was a “deadlock” between the Delhi government and the LG.
“There is no illegality in the notifications of 2014 and 2015. These were only clarificatory in nature and the need for issuing these arose because there was a deadlock between the petitioner (Delhi government) and the LG,” said the ASG. He claimed that the Delhi government has not been able to point out even a “single flaw” in the notifications as they were issued within the ambit of the Constitution.
Regarding the notification on the ACB’s jurisdiction, Jain said the anti-corruption body comes directly under the control of the Centre through the Lt Governor and its “entire focus and scope” has been “clearly defined.”
On the notification on the appointment of bureaucrats, Jain said the Delhi government does not have its own service commission and the Lt Governor has the say because cadre-control of DANICS, DANIPS and AGMUT comes under the Centre.
The bench, after hearing the arguments, adjourned the matter for further hearing on March 18, after Delhi government’s senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra sought some time to present his arguments.
As many as 11 cases arising out of the spat between the LG and the Delhi government are being heard together by the bench. On May 28 last year, the Delhi government had approached the high court to challenge the Centre’s notification of May 21, giving the LG absolute powers to appoint bureaucrats. It had also challenged the July 23, 2014 notification limiting the ACB’s jurisdiction to Delhi government officials.