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Delhi: SC allowed Center to extend Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar’s tenure by six months

New Delhi: Delhi government has received a setback from the Supreme Court in the service extension case of Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar. The Supreme Court has approved his service extension. During the hearing, the Supreme Court said the Centre's decision "does not violate the constitutionally mandated distribution of powers".

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

New Delhi: On Wednesday, Delhi government has received a setback from the Supreme Court in the service extension case of Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar. The Supreme Court said that the current Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar can be given an extension of 6 months. During the hearing, the Supreme Court said the Centre’s decision “does not violate the constitutionally mandated distribution of powers”.

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CJI DY Chandrachud’s bench gave green signal to the 6-month extension of service given by the Central Government to Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar. According to sources, the top court said the Center has the power to extend the tenure of the chief secretary, who deals with police, land and public order issues which are outside the purview of the Delhi government.

The AAP government in Delhi had opposed Naresh Kumar’s service expansion. Notably, Naresh Kumar is scheduled to retire on Thursday. The court also stated that the decision was based on a “prima facie view” and that the five-judge constitution bench would evaluate the legal and constitutional principles.

The Supreme Court ruled that it cannot be said about the Chief Secretary that he has violated the 6 months service extension law. The Supreme Court has said that the Center has the right to appoint the Chief Secretary in Delhi and the Central Government can extend the service of the Chief Secretary by 6 months.

The Supreme Court accepted the Centre’s argument that according to the new law, the Center has the right to transfer-posting officers and the Supreme Court has not banned this law. The Supreme Court on Tuesday, while hearing the Delhi government’s plea, had asked the Center whether it has ‘only one person’ and there is no other Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer available for the post.

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On Tuesday, Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud’s bench had suggested that Kumar should be allowed to retire and be re-appointed. Also, it is noted that the Center has the power of appointment under the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act and there is no restriction on it. The Centre was given until Wednesday to provide reasons why it wanted to extend Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar’s tenure by six months.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, informed the court that the government intends to extend the tenure of the incumbent who has been serving for more than one and a half years for a limited period. The Solicitor General told a three-judge bench “We intend to extend the tenure of the current Chief Secretary until a new appointment is made.”

A bench of the Supreme Court has given its verdict on the Delhi government’s plea against the appointment of a new Chief Secretary without any consultation and any move by the Center to extend the tenure of current top civil servant Naresh Kumar. The Delhi government has raised questions as to how the Center can appoint the Chief Secretary without any consultation, while the new law has been challenged.

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