NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday had a piece of advice for both Delhi lieutenant governor V K Saxena and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal – “rise above political bickering.”
The top court’s remarks came amid differences between the two constitutional functionaries over the appointment of new Delhi Energy Regulatory Commission (DERC) chairperson.
A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and Manoj Misra said “The two constitutional functionaries have to rise above political bickering and they should give a name for the DERC chairperson.”
“Does everything run through modalities of the Supreme Court? They both are constitutional functionaries. Can’t the LG and chief minister sit and come with a name on which both agree,” the bench said.
“So much of the work of government happens away from public eye. We are not so much concerned about DERC chairperson appointment which will be done. We are on the larger issue. You both can sit together and sort out some issues,” the judges added.
The top court was hearing a petition filed by Delhi government relating to the appointment of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission chairperson, which has become the latest flashpoint between the AAP government and the Delhi LG.
The apex court had on July 4 ordered to defer the oath taking ceremony of the appointment of Justice (retired) Umesh Kumar as the chairperson of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) till July 11. It had also said that it will examine the constitutional validity of a provision of the Centre’s recent Ordinance governing appointments such as that of the DERC chairperson.
The Delhi government moved the Supreme Court challenging the appointment of former Allahabad High Court judge Justice Umesh Kumar as DERC chairperson on the ground that it was unilaterally made by the Lieutenant Governor without its concurrence.
The AAP government had in January sent the name of retired justice Rajiv Kumar Shrivastava to the LG V K Saxena for appointment as the new chairperson of the power regulator. However, the file was returned by Lieutenant Governor Saxena with a recommendation to also consult with Delhi high court chief justice for the appointment. Later, the Delhi government approached the Supreme Court on April 12, blaming the LG for delaying the appointment.
On May 19, the top court observed that the LG is not supposed to act on his own discretion on such appointments, and directed the government to appoint the DERC chairperson within two weeks.
Shrivastava, however, expressed his inability to take the responsibility through a communication to the LG on June 15, citing “family commitments and requirements.”
After that, the Union home ministry on June 21 appointed retired justice Umesh Kumar of Allahabad High Court as the chairperson of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) under the provisions of the new ordinance.
Delhi power minister Atishi alleged that the recruitment was done by “overlooking” the aid and advice of the elected government, therefore, violating the constitution by appointing someone else for that position.
She said Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had on June 21 recommended Justice Sangeet Lodha (Retired) for the post, however, the same was “wilfully ignored” by the President.
The Centre had on May 19 promulgated the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023, to create a National Capital Civil Service Authority for transfer and posting of Group-A officers in Delhi.
The Ordinance was brought after a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had granted control over services in Delhi excluding police, public order and land to the elected government.
Thereafter, Delhi’s AAP government had moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Ordinance, saying it violates the scheme of federal, democratic governance entrenched for the NCTD in Article 239AA and is manifestly arbitrary, and sought an immediate stay.
On May 20, the Centre had also moved the Supreme Court seeking review of the May 11 judgment.


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