Supreme Court asks Delhi L-G & CM to sit together to decide DERC chairman’s name

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Lieutenant Governor and Delhi Chief Minister to “sit together” and “rise above political bickering” to mutually decide on the name of the Chairman of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC).

“Why don’t two constitutional functionaries (Delhi L-G and CM) sit down and make it work? They have to rise above political bickering. We do not want to step into this, we want both sides to arrive at a solution, ” said a bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justices P.S. Narasimha and Manoj Misra.

“We will approach the Delhi L-G tomorrow, ” said senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who represented the Delhi government, in response to the suggestion put forth by the court. “It will only be miraculous that both of them (Delhi L-G and CM) agree on a name, ” he added further.

The reservations expressed by Dr. Singhvi were opposed heavily by senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Delhi L-G. “It is unfortunate that the Delhi government lawyer (Dr. Singhvi) starts by saying that he has no hope. The first reaction should be yes, we’ll do it, ” he said.

The court has posted the matter for further hearing on July 20. Earlier on July 4, the Supreme Court had asked the Delhi Lieutenant Governor to not administer oath of office to the newly appointed DERC Chairman Justice (retired) Umesh Kumar. It had directed that the administering of oath to the former judge of Allahabad High Court will stand deferred till July 11.

The top court was hearing the petition moved by the AAP-led Delhi government’s plea claiming that appointment of the DERC Chairman was ‘illegal and unconstitutional’.

It claimed that the appointment was made by ‘overlooking’ the aid and advice of the elected government.

On June 22, L-G V.K. Saxena had appointed Justice (Retd.) Umesh Kumar of the Allahabad High Court as the Chairman ignoring Delhi’s government’s recommendation to appoint retired MP High Court Judge, Justice Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava.

The Delhi government has challenged Section 45-A of the GNCTD Act introduced through the recent ordinance giving overriding powers to the Lieutenant Governor over the elected government in the matter of appointments.