Delhi Govt vs Centre: Supreme Court Constitution Bench To Start Hearing From 9th Nov, 2022

On November 9, 2022, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments in the dispute between the Delhi Government and the Union Government on control of administrative services in Delhi’s National Capital Territory.

The hearing would continue on a daily basis, according to a 5-judge Bench made up of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, M.R. Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli, and P.S. Narasimha on Tuesday.

The Bench had moved the subject from the previous hearing date to September 27 in order to set the hearing’s schedule. Additionally, it had said that the Court will begin the hearing on October 11, 2022, at the very least.

Senior Attorney Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who was representing the Delhi Government on Tuesday (27.09.2022), informed the bench that while the arguments in the case involving the challenge to the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act (EWS matter) would be concluded by the end of the day, the argument challenging the Muslim reservation in Andhra Pradesh would be taken up by another Constitution Bench shortly after. In light of this, he asked if the current matter could be listed three days before or right after the Diwali holiday.

The Solicitor General, Mr. Tushar Mehta, was consulted by the Bench on his opinion, and he proposed that the case be scheduled for after Diwali.

On May 6, 2022, a three-judge bench headed by CJI NV Ramana assigned the narrow issues pertaining to power over administrative services in the National Capital Territory to a Constitution Bench in the legal dispute involving the Delhi Government and the Central Government.

The Bench had noted that the major dispute is on how to interpret the clauses in Article 239AA(3) that read “any such matter is applicable to UT’s” and “subject to provisions of this constitution” (a).

A two-judge Supreme Court panel split on the issue of the GNCTD and Union Government’s authority over services in February 2019. The subject was then sent to a three-judge bench, which has since submitted a narrow legal issue to the Constitution Bench chaired by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.

A five-judge Supreme Court panel established comprehensive guidelines for the administration of the national capital in July 2018 in the midst of disagreements between the elected government and the Lieutenant Governor. By ruling dated 15.02.2017, a Division Bench of the Apex Court referred the petition to the Constitution bench. The Union of India had argued before the three-judge bench headed by CJI Ramana that referral to a Constitution Bench is required for a comprehensive interpretation of Article 239AA, which is crucial to settling the problems at hand. AM Singhvi, a senior advocate who was representing the Delhi Government, argued against the Union’s motion for a referral. He had argued that the Union’s request for the referral of matters that the Constitution Bench had previously addressed would amount to a reconsideration or review of the 2018 Constitution Bench verdict.

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