Delhi Ordinance Stirs Controversy, Raises Questions of Executive Authority and Accountability


The issuance of an Ordinance late Friday night in Delhi has sparked incredulity and heated debates among the public, media, and Whatsapp groups. The Ordinance, which effectively undermines the Supreme Court’s order on the control of officers in Delhi, has left many questioning the central government’s power to override a constitutional interpretation by a five-judge bench. Concerns are being raised about the potential contempt of court implications of such a move. However, upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that the Ordinance does not directly contradict the Supreme Court’s judgment. Instead, it lays out processes for postings, transfers, disciplinary actions, and related matters concerning officials.

The judgment had recognized the need for elected governments to have authority over services, but the Ordinance seems to exert control over the Chief Minister, rendering them unable to function without the agreement of the Chief Secretary and Home Secretary. The Ordinance encompasses various services, including All-India services, DANICS officers, and other departments under the Delhi government, outlining the procedures for postings, transfers, and vigilance matters. Importantly, it does not hinder officers from assisting in policy formulation or implementation once approved. While initial perceptions suggest that the Ordinance is an attempt to curtail the rising popularity of Chief Minister Kejriwal, as evidenced by recent electoral victories and clashes with the Apex Court, the preamble of the Ordinance justifies it as necessary to uphold the highest standards of administration and governance in the national capital.

It emphasizes the presence of important constitutional functionaries, foreign missions, international agencies, and frequent visits by national and international dignitaries. Considering the Ordinance’s stated purpose of safeguarding the national reputation, image, credibility, and prestige, it is unlikely that the courts will view it as contemptuous or demand immediate judicial interference. As discussions unfold, opinions diverge regarding the motivations behind the Ordinance and its potential consequences. Chief Minister Kejriwal has already chosen to challenge it in the Supreme Court, suggesting that the legal battle over executive authority in Delhi is far from over.


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