SC to go paperless for Delhi vs Centre Constitution bench hearing

The Supreme Court has decided to remove physical documents for its constitution bench hearing a dispute between the Center and the Delhi government over the control of administrative services in the national capital.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud took up the matter on Wednesday, asking the rival parties not to submit any documents in the court.

“We will keep it a completely green bench so that there is no paperwork,” Justice Chandrachud told the sides. “Please don’t carry any paper”.

A bench of Justices MR Shah, Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli and PS Narasimha said the Information Technology Cell of the court had on Saturday agreed to provide training to seniors on the use of technology.

Justice Chandrachud asked the parties to inform the court if anyone needs training so that it can be conducted.

As a lawyer conveyed his dilemma in the use of technology, Justice MR Shah remarked, “We also got training. Someday you have to start over.”

Reassuring the lawyer, Justice Chandrachud said: “If you can argue in the court, you can easily adopt it. Technology is for dummies.

The court said it will list the matter for direction on September 27 and see whether the hearing can begin in October.

The court in its order said that all the lawyers agree that the proceedings will take place in a paperless environment and no hard copy of the documents will be carried. The bench also directed the registry to scan all the paper books and make them available to both the parties.

The proceedings originated in the Delhi High Court judgment dated 4 August 2017, which held that for the purposes of administration of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, the Lieutenant Governor was not bound by the aid and advice of the Council. Ministers in every case.

On appeal, the Supreme Court referred the matter on February 15, 2017 to decide on the interpretation of Article 239AA, which gives special status to Delhi.

By a majority decision on July 4, 2018, a constitution bench of the apex court had upheld the respective powers of the state assembly and parliament. It said that while the Council of Ministers should communicate all decisions to the LG, it does not mean that the consent of the LG is required. In case of difference of opinion, the LG can refer it to the President for decision.
The LG has no independent decision-making power, but is either bound to act on the ‘aid and advice’ of the Council of Ministers or to implement the President’s decision on any reference, it said.

Subsequently, in 2019, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, while dealing with some personal issues arising out of the power struggle between the Center and the NCT government, ruled that the anti-corruption wing of the Delhi government should not investigate corruption cases against the central government. can do The power to appoint officers, and commissions under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, shall rest with the Centre, and not with the Government of Delhi.

In this regard, the two-judge bench upheld the two notifications issued by the Center on July 23, 2014 and May 21, 2015, in which the investigation of offenses committed by the Central Government shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Anti-Corruption Wing of the Delhi Government. had the effect of ousting. officers and limiting it to Delhi Government employees. However, the judges differed on who should have control over the administrative services.

This was challenged again in the Supreme Court, where the Center argued that the two judges could not decide on the question as the 2018 Constitution Bench decision did not interpret the expression “as applicable to Union Territories”. . Article 239AA. It urged the top court to refer the matter to a five-judge constitution bench to settle the question of law before the dispute over who controls the services. The NCT government opposed this saying that there is already a Constitution Bench decision in this matter.

Taking this decision, the top court had referred the question to a constitution bench on May 6 this year. It agreed with the Centre’s contention that the 2018 Constitution Bench had not dealt with one aspect affecting the services dispute and said this limited question would be looked into.

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